Taliban warn of action if US refuses to leave Afghanistan on schedule

Tasnim – The Taliban’s political chief, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, warned the US that an appropriate decision will be made if the American forces fail to pull out of Afghanistan according to the agreed timetable.

In an interview with Tasnim, Abdul Ghani Baradar said the Doha agreement between the Taliban and the US entails the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan under a 14-month timetable.

“The results of implementation of the Doha agreement with the US have been positive so far. In the first stage, the US announced it has evacuated five military bases, and the number of American troops has been reduced to 8,600, as this process continues,” he added.

“However, if the foreign forces do not leave Afghanistan on schedule, the Islamic Emirate will make the necessary decisions,” the Taliban’s political chief warned.

On intra-Afghan talks for the peace process in Afghanistan, Baradar underlined that there is no hidden agreement between the group and the US.

The Taliban insist that the Afghan government “should release the Islamic Emirate prisoners according to the Doha agreement to prepare the ground for the launch of intra-Afghan negotiations”, he said, denying reports that the Taliban have submitted a new list of prisoners to the Kabul government.

“The release of all 5,000 Taliban prisoners is the precondition for the start of intra-Afghan negotiations,” Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar stated.

Asked about the Taliban’s push to take full power in Afghanistan, he said the group is after the establishment of an inclusive Islamic administration, but does not seek a monopoly of power.

“All Afghans have the right to be involved in serving and safeguarding the Islamic establishment and their country,” he concluded.

A few days ago, the Taliban said they were prepared to hold peace talks with the Afghan government next month straight after the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, provided a continuing prisoner swap has been completed.

The Taliban’s political spokesman, Suhail Shaheen, said on Twitter on Thursday that the Taliban were ready to release the remaining Afghan security force prisoners in their custody, as long as Kabul freed all Taliban inmates “as per our list already delivered” to authorities.

The prisoner-exchange issue, agreed to under a deal between the US and the Taliban, has proved a major sticking point ahead of peace talks.

The Afghan government is supposed to release up to 5,000 Taliban fighters, while the armed group has pledged to free 1,000 Afghan security forces in their custody, according to the US-Taliban agreement.

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