Taliban warn of heavy cost if US delays troop withdrawal

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Kabul

The Taliban will not announce the makeup of its government until the United States completes its troop withdrawal, two sources in the movement told AFP on Monday.

“It has been decided that the formation of the government and cabinet will not be announced as long as a single US soldier is present in Afghanistan,” a Taliban source said, and this was confirmed by a second insider.

The Taliban also warned that there would be “consequences” if the United States and its allies extend the presence of troops in Afghanistan beyond next week, as chaos continued to overwhelm Kabul airport.

The rapid fall of the country to the hardliners last weekend shocked Western nations, coming just two weeks before an August 31 deadline for all troops to fully withdraw from the country.

To manage the chaotic airlifting of foreigners and Afghans — many of whom fear reprisals for working with Western nations — thousands of soldiers have poured back into Afghanistan, with pressure growing on Washington to extend the deadline.

But the Taliban, who have so far sought to strike a more moderate tone, showed no willingness to compromise on the US pullout.

“If the US or UK were to seek additional time to continue evacuations — the answer is no. Or there would be consequences,” Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen told Sky News on Monday. Staying beyond the agreed deadline would be “extending occupation”, he added.AFP

 

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