The US must remove all its troops from Afghanistan by September 11, Suhail Shaheen, a member of the Taliban’s political office and negotiation team in Qatar, told Sky News.
Shaheen said the militants remain committed to not attacking US servicemen, and their immediate goal is to maintain security and prevent incidents around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.
The group’s spokesperson previously said that foreign diplomats and aid workers will not be harmed.
The US planned to withdraw its troops by August 31, but was forced to dispatch around 5,000 additional soldiers to facilitate the evacuation of American diplomatic personnel and their allies from Kabul, as Afghanistan’s capital and largest city was swiftly seized by the Taliban on Sunday.
The sudden arrival of the militants sparked panic, with locals swarming the airport in the hope of catching a flight from Afghanistan. According to reports, several people died during the ensuing chaos and US troops reportedly fired in the air to prevent desperate Afghans from flooding the runway.
Earlier this year, US President Joe Biden set a deadline of September 11 for completing the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
On Monday, Biden promised a “swift and forceful” response if the Taliban attacks American soldiers or disrupts evacuations.
$1 TRILLION worth of US failures in Afghanistan: DOD report tears into ‘mind-boggling’ mistakes from Bush to Biden, the US funneling money into corruption and advisors using ‘American TV shows’ for inspiration
- The US has now spent $837 billion on warfighting and $145 billion in Afghanistan, and 2,443 American troops and 66,000 Afghan troops were killed
- One former senior Defense official told the watchdog: ‘When you look at how much we spent and what we got for it, it’s mind boggling’
- The analysis said that the reconstruction effort ‘could be described as 20 one-year reconstruction efforts, rather than one 20-year effort’
- ‘Billions of reconstruction dollars were wasted as projects went unused or fell into disrepair,’ the report said, noting rampant corruption
- It found that US officials did not understand how their intervention was being accepted socially and culturally
The Biden administration blame game begins: Chaos as the White House, Pentagon and State Department all look to blame each other for the debacle in Afghanistan
- President Biden singled out U.S.-trained Afghan forces who failed to fight
- Diplomats question how U.S. intelligence failed to anticipate lightning takeover
- White House official points to General’s overestimate of Afghan force capability
- Biden’s top national security advisor is himself under fire
- Comes after Biden orders in 6,000 troops to secure evacuation
Look who got rich off of arming the Taliban (Full show)
Washington cannot say whether or not it has a plan to keep US weapons out of the hands of the Taliban. The Taliban, triumphant and firmly in control of Afghanistan and against whom the US waged two decades of bloody and expensive warfare, is now in possession of US tanks, guns and other military equipment. Raytheon, Boeing, Northrop-Grumman and Lockheed-Martin quietly raked in billions of dollars from the slow-motion fiasco while the US taxpayers footed the bill. RT America’s Faran Fronczak joins Scottie Nell Hughes to share the infuriating details. (01:48)
Then US Army veteran and conservative commentator Cory Mills joins to discuss the enrichment of defense contractors even as US veterans are routinely and repeatedly betrayed. (06:34)
- Taliban vow no retribution against soldiers, contractors
- Taliban leader Baradar returns to Afghanistan
- West resumes evacuations after Kabul airport chaos eases
- Biden, Johnson agree to virtual G7 meeting on Afghanistan
KABUL, Aug 17 (Reuters) – The Taliban said on Tuesday they wanted peaceful relations with other countries and would respect the rights of women within the framework of Islamic law, as they held their first official news briefing since their lightning seizure of Kabul.
The Taliban announcements, short on details but suggesting a softer line than during their rule 20 years ago, came as the United States and Western allies resumed evacuating diplomats and civilians the day after scenes of chaos at Kabul airport as Afghans thronged the runway.
A White House official said military flights had evacuated about 1,100 Americans from Kabul on Tuesday.
As they consolidated power, the Taliban said one of their leaders and co-founders, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, had returned to Afghanistan for the first time in more than 10 years. Baradar was arrested in 2010, but released from prison in 2018 at the request of former U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration so he could participate in peace talks.
“We don’t want any internal or external enemies,” the movement’s main spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said.
Women would be allowed to work and study and “will be very active in society but within the framework of Islam,” he added.
As they rushed to evacuate, foreign powers assessed how to respond after Afghan forces melted away in just days, with what many had predicted as the likely fast unraveling of women’s rights.
“If (the Taliban) want any respect, if they want any recognition by the international community, they have to be very conscious of the fact that we will be watching how women and girls and, more broadly, the civilian community is treated by them as they try to form a government,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told MSNBC on Tuesday.
U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said they had agreed to hold a virtual meeting of Group of Seven leaders next week to discuss a common strategy and approach to Afghanistan. read more
During their 1996-2001 rule, also guided by Islamic sharia law, the Taliban stopped women from working. Girls were not allowed to go to school and women had to wear all-enveloping burqas to go out and then only when accompanied by a male relative.
The U.N. Human Rights Council will hold a special session in Geneva next week to address “serious human rights concerns” after the Taliban takeover, a U.N. statement said.
Ramiz Alakbarov, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Afghanistan, told Reuters in an interview the Taliban had assured the United Nations it can pursue humanitarian work in Afghanistan, which is suffering from a drought. read more
‘WALK THE TALK’
The European Union said it would only cooperate with the Afghan government following the Taliban’s return to power if they respected fundamental rights, including those of women.
Afghan girls’ education activist Pashtana Durrani, 23, was wary of Taliban promises. “They have to walk the talk. Right now they are not doing that,” she told Reuters.
Several women were ordered to leave their jobs during the Taliban’s rapid advance across Afghanistan.
Mujahid said the Taliban would not seek retribution against former soldiers and government officials, and were granting an amnesty for former soldiers as well as contractors and translators who worked for international forces.
“Nobody is going to harm you, nobody is going to knock on your doors,” he said, adding that there was a “huge difference” between the Taliban now and 20 years ago.
He also said families trying to flee the country at the airport should return home and nothing would happen to them.
RESISTANCE AND CRITICISM
Mujahid’s conciliatory tone contrasted with comments by Afghan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who declared himself the “legitimate caretaker president” and vowed not to bow to Kabul’s new rulers. read more
It was not immediately clear how much support Saleh enjoys in a country wearied by decades of conflict.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the Taliban should allow the departure of all those who want to leave Afghanistan, adding NATO’s aim was to help build a viable state and warning the alliance could strike if the country again becomes a breeding ground for terrorism. read more
The decision by Biden, a Democrat, to stick to the withdrawal deal struck last year by his Republican predecessor Trump has stirred widespread criticism at home and among U.S. allies.
Biden’s approval rating dropped by 7 percentage points to 46%, the lowest level of his seven-month-long presidency, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted on Monday. It also found that less than half of Americans liked how he has handled Afghanistan. read more
Biden said he had had to decide between asking U.S. forces to fight endlessly or follow through on Trump’s withdrawal deal. He blamed the Taliban takeover on Afghan leaders who fled and the army’s unwillingness to fight. read more
Washington was blocking the Taliban from accessing any Afghan government funds held in the United States, including about $1.3 billion of gold reserves at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a Biden administration official said. read more