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Taliban warns any Nato and US troops will be ‘treated as invaders’ if they don’t leave Afghanistan by deadline


TALIBAN leaders will treat Nato and US forces as ‘invaders’ if they fail to leave Afghanistan by September, a spokesperson has said.

Suhail Shaheen promised the Taliban “would react” if troops are left in the country after withdrawal, hours after the movement seized control of nine districts.

Nato and US troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan after 20 years of conflict

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Nato and US troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan after 20 years of conflictCredit: Reuters
The Taliban promise to 'react' if Western soldiers are left behind

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The Taliban promise to ‘react’ if Western soldiers are left behindCredit: Alamy
US soldiers load an armoured HUMV that's to be shipped back home

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US soldiers load an armoured HUMV that’s to be shipped back homeCredit: Reuters
Taliban propaganda video shows weapons which have been seized from Afghan forces

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Taliban propaganda video shows weapons which have been seized from Afghan forcesCredit: YouTube

“If they leave behind their forces against the Doha agreement then in that case it will be the decision of our leadership how we proceed,” he said, referring to the US-Taliban peace agreement brokered last year.

“We would react and the final decision is with our leadership,” he added.

He promised diplomats, NGOs and foreign civilians wouldn’t be targeted.

“We are against the foreign military forces, not diplomats, NGOs and workers and NGOs functioning and embassies functioning – that is something our people need. We will not pose any threat to them,” he said.

Talibani forces have unleashed a reign of terror in recent weeks and seized control of a third of the country after American troops began to withdraw.

The Afghan Ministry of Defense said at least 143 insurgents were killed and 121 others wounded in counter-attacks in the last 24 hours.

Fawad Aman, a deputy spokesman for the ministry said that the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces are in an “assaulting mood and are conducting operations against the Taliban”.

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Meanwhile, a key Taliban commander was killed in western Herat province on Saturday night.

Despite this, the jihadis are now preparing to move on the capital Kabul after Afghan troops surrendered and retreated.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said seizing Kabul militarily was “not Taliban policy”.

But he did say that no foreign forces, including military contractors, should remain in the capital after withdrawal was complete.

February 2020 saw a peace deal signed between the US and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, which agreed to a withdrawal by September 11, 2021.

Taliban forces have since continued their operations and have been gaining ground – and the US continues to pull back its troops.

As a result, 300 Afghan military personnel fled into neighbouring Tajikistan to escape the group’s advance.

The Islamist group seized hundreds of trucks, armoured vehicles and artillery from Afghan security forces — which had been left by departing American forces.

An investigation of imagery posted on social media concludes that in the month of June alone the militants captured 700 vehicles.

It mirrors the seizure of military hardware of the US-backed Iraqi government by ISIS in the mid 2010s, which enabled it to take over vast tracks of the country and form its so-called caliphate.

Some 456 British soldiers and 2,420 Americans – along with hundreds of other coalition troops – died during the war which was sparked by the September 11 attacks.

The Taliban have seized control of a third of Afghanistan
The Taliban have seized control of a third of Afghanistan
A still image taken from a propaganda video showing Taliban fighters in an Afghani training camp

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A still image taken from a propaganda video showing Taliban fighters in an Afghani training campCredit: Alamy
US troops have been steadily withdrawing from Afghanistan

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US troops have been steadily withdrawing from AfghanistanCredit: AP

20 years in Afghanistan – what happened?

US forces have begun a full withdrawal from Afghanistan under the orders of US President Joe Biden after spending 20 years fighting to stablise the war-torn nation.

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Some 456 British soldiers and 2,420 Americans – along with hundreds of other coalition troops – died during the war which was sparked by the September 11 attacks.

And the civilian casualties are estimated to have been almost 50,000.

Codenamed Operation Enduring Freedom, the US led an invasion off Afghanistan to oust the Taliban after al-Qaeda flew planes into the World Trade Centre and other US buildings in 2001.

The mission was to oust the Taliban, who were said to be harbouring terrorists and providing them a safe haven – including Osama bin Laden.

What followed was nearly 20 years of grinding conflict as the US, its allies, and the Afghan security forces staged a grinding campaign to attempt to rebuild the country and beat back the Taliban.

The Taliban had ruled most of Afghanistan following the Afghan Civil War in the 90s – sparked by the withdrawal of the Soviet Union.

Western nations had actually supported the Taliban in the 80s as the ran an insurgency against the Soviet backed regime of Mohammad Najibullah.

However, after seizing power in 1996 – the Taliban brutally ruled Afghanistan and offered a safe haven to terrorist killers like Osama.

As the US war rolled on into the 2010s, Bin Laden was killed in May, 2011, in a US special forces raid in Abbotabad, Pakistan.

And since then there has been a slow withdrawal, with British troops officially ending combat operations in October 2014.

February 2020 saw a peace deal signed between the US and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, which agreed to a withdrawal – whoever the Afghan government criticised it as being done behind “closed doors”.

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Taliban forces have since continued their operations and have been gaining ground – and the US continues to pull back its troops.

The war is seen as defeating the Taliban and improving the lives of the Afghan people who were once living under strict Islamic law and who now have free elections.

However, for some it is unfinished job which was mishandled – and that may 20 years on simply see a return to the dominance of the Taliban as they did pre-9/11.

Codenamed Operation Enduring Freedom, the US led an invasion off Afghanistan to oust the Taliban after al-Qaeda flew planes into the World Trade Centre and other US buildings in 2001.

The mission was to oust the Taliban, who were said to be harbouring terrorists and providing them a safe haven – including Osama bin Laden.

What followed was nearly 20 years of grinding conflict as the US, its allies, and the Afghan security forces staged a grinding campaign to attempt to rebuild the country and beat back the Taliban.





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