A spokesperson for the Taliban is calling for America’s troops to leave Afghanistan, but didn’t go so far as to say the group would attack U.S. forces who are there.
According to the Newsweek, the comments came Tuesday from Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen.
“I think [the U.S.] should get their troops out of Afghanistan,” Shaheen said in an interview. “They have already violated the timeframe which was enshrined in the Doha agreement, then they announced that they will withdraw all their forces [by] September 11.”
He went on: “So they should withdraw all their forces, but we are committed not to attack them. And we have not attacked them.”
Armed flights over Kabul
According to Fox News, some 5,200 American soldiers are currently stationed at Kabul’s airport as the U.S. scrambles to evacuate its citizens from Afghanistan.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby confirmed in a press conference Tuesday that armed “overwatch” flights are being conducted over the city.
“Force protection is a high priority, and we’re going to have at our disposal all the assets and resources necessary to make sure we can accomplish this mission safely and efficiently, just like we were accomplishing the previous mission of drawdown safely and efficiently,” he said, according to Fox.
The network also reported that officials within the Department of Defense have denied that the flights are intended to serve as a “show of force.”
Taliban forging bonds?
In addition to addressing the withdrawal of U.S. troops, Shaheen also boasted that the Taliban has been making connections with other countries in the region, including China.
“We are getting political support,” the spokesman declared, according to Newsweek. “We visited China and also Russia. You may have seen the reports. They said the Taliban is a great political and military force of Afghanistan,” he added. “That is a reality. And also, they supported us. This we are getting.”
Shaheen clarified that this support does not include financial backing, but did claim that his regime is maintaining “good relations” with those countries.
He also called on world leaders to “respect the aspirations and will of the people of Afghanistan and help the people of Afghanistan in rebuilding the country,” according to Newsweek, saying:
I think this is their obligation because they were behind the destruction of Afghanistan during the 20 years, so now it is their moral obligation to also help to reconstruct Afghanistan, and to help the people to start a new life in a new chapter of Afghanistan.