Washington, USA (Weltexpress). The Taliban has cautioned the US and its NATO allies against failing to withdraw troops from Afghanistan before the self-imposed deadline of 11 September 2021. Otherwise the troops will be treated as “occupying forces”, the Taliban added.
“If [NATO] leave behind their forces against the Doha agreement then in that case it will be the decision of our leadership how we proceed. We would react and the final decision is with our leadership”, Taliban* spokesman Suhail Shaheen said in an interview with the BBC.
In light of this, Shaheen hailed the US move last week to abandon Bagram Airfield, which has long served as the base of operations for NATO. The Taliban spokesman noted, however, that embassies, diplomats, and foreign charities would not be treated as occupiers and would thus not be targeted.
As the US and its allies gradually pull troops out, the Taliban is reportedly expanding its control over Afghanistan’s territory, having allegedly captured roughly 1/3 of it so far. Still, the head of the group claims it has no goal to seize Kabul, with which it has been negotiating unsuccessfully for less than a year.