Taliban: Will force foreign troops out if US misses pullout deadline

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Kabul

Foreign troops will be driven out of Afghanistan by force if the US fails to meet a May 1 deadline to withdraw its remaining soldiers, the Taliban said on Friday.

This follows US President Joe Biden’s announcement that he could extend the American military presence in the country.

Foreign troops led by the US have been stationed in Afghanistan since the ousting of the Taliban from power in late 2001.

Under a deal signed by the US and Taliban in Qatar in February 2020, the US military should completely leave Afghanistan by May 1.

The US has already withdrawn several thousands of its soldiers, but some of its 2,500 troops still remain on Afghan soil, reports Arab News.

Biden admitted on Thursday that the remaining troops could stay in Afghanistan for “tactical reasons” after the deadline. He added, however, that he did not intend to keep the troops in Afghanistan past next year.

“If anyone violates the Doha agreement and adopts the path of war, Afghans have a long history of giving sacrifices for the freedom of their country and can drive out by force the foreign troops,” Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, told Arab News over the phone.

“No one should try the will of Afghans in this regard . . . and all foreign troops must leave Afghanistan on the set time as Afghans have the right to decide about their country.

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