Taliban warn Afghan neighbours against allowing US bases

Taliban warn Afghan neighbours against allowing US bases

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Kabul: The Taliban warned Afghanistan’s neighbors on Wednesday not to allow the United States to operate military bases on its territory, and the insurgents insisted that they would stop this “historic mistake”.

Washington is in the final stage of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. In recent days, a series of diplomatic calls between the United States and Pakistan has aroused speculation that the Pentagon is looking for a new base to deal with the Taliban.

“We urge neighbouring countries not to allow anyone to do so,” the Taliban said in a statement.

“If such a step is taken again, it will be a great and historic mistake and disgrace.”

They would “not remain silent in the face of such heinous and provocative acts”, the statement added.

Several of Afghanistan s neighbours allowed the US military limited use of air bases in the early 2000s after the overthrow of the Taliban.

Such overt physical support has largely ended, however, although some countries do allow their airspace to be used for military flights.

Pakistan on Tuesday dismissed local media reports that it had struck a new deal with Washington.

“This news is baseless and speculative,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told the Senate.

“I want to make it clear on the floor of the house… that Pakistan, under the leadership of Imran Khan, will never allow any American base on its soil.”

The Taliban and Washington reached a landmark agreement last year, paving the way for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan.

In return, the Taliban stated that Afghanistan will not be allowed to become a base for jihadist groups such as Al-Qaida and the Islamic State.

US President Biden announced last month that all remaining 2,500 US troops will leave Afghanistan on September 11, the 20th anniversary of Al Qaeda’s invasion of the United States.

But the withdrawal has raised concerns about whether the Afghan government forces alone can fight the Taliban.

As government forces and the Taliban clashed in near-daily fighting, violence has soared in recent weeks, while the insurgents have continued their offensive to occupy more territory, as peace talks ended the war and have reached a deadlock.

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