Taliban warns neighboring countries against hosting US troops

The Taliban, the main Afghan insurgent group, has warned Afghan neighbors against hosting US troops, saying it would a “great historic mistake”. The group also threatened that they would “not remain silent”, reported TOLOnews

May 27, 2021
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Taliban (File)

The Taliban, the main Afghan insurgent group, has warned Afghan neighbors against hosting US troops, saying it would a “great historic mistake”. The group also threatened that they would “not remain silent”, reported TOLOnews.

“God forbid, if such a step is taken (providing bases to US forces) once again, it will be a great historic mistake and disgrace that shall forever be inscribed as a dark stain in history,” the group said in a statement released on Wednesday. 

Foreign forces are leaving Afghanistan, ending their 20-year presence in the war-torn country. However, the US fears the security vacuum created by the troops’ withdrawal might be exploited by global and regional terrorist networks operating in the country. 

Therefore, it is looking for military bases in the region to place at least a small counter-terrorism force to deal with any possible threat emanating from Afghanistan. Significantly, the warning from the Taliban came days after the Biden administration admitted that they were in touch with Afghan neighbors, in Central Asia particularly, for military bases. 

In the statement on Wednesday, the Taliban said they have assured that Afghan soil would not be used against any other country, adding that the group also expected that foreign countries won’t let their soil and air space be used against Afghanistan. 

“If such a step is taken, then the responsibility for all the misfortunes and difficulties lies upon those who commit such mistakes," the statement reads. 

Importantly, media reports earlier this week say that the US is building a military base across Durand Line-- the internationally recognized Afghan-Pakistan border-- inside Pakistan. However, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s foreign minister, denied allowing any US troops in the country. 
 
The US is also exploring possibilities of bases in Central Asian countries. However, the Russian President’s special envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, has said that any US base in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan is “unacceptable” to Russia. Moscow considers Central Asia its backyard and remains very sensitive to any security development or threat to the region. 

China, another important player in the region, too, would not like to see any US troops in its vicinity. That leaves the US with very few options for bases. Iran, the western neighbor of Afghanistan, has its own extremely tense relationship with the US. 

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