The Taliban warned there would be “consequences” if the United States and its allies extended their presence in Afghanistan beyond August 31, saying that the US had already violated its previous May 1 deadline to pull out troops.

If the US and its allies continued to stay beyond the agreed second deadline, it would be considered “the extended occupation of foreign forces”, and there would be consequences, spokesperson Suhail Shaheen told Geo News.

The Taliban spokesman held ex-president Ashraf Ghani and his administration responsible for chaotic scenes at the airport and panic elsewhere in Kabul. 

He said the Kabul administration should not have abandoned security posts and offices. In contrast, Ghani had no rationale to flee the country when everyone knew that the Taliban forces had asked for a peaceful transfer of power to prevent bloodshed instead of entering the city.

Asked if ISIS posed a real threat to attack Kabul airport and how the Taliban could guarantee security, the Taliban spokesman said: “We are cautious about ISIS potential to attack the airport, as the Afghan forces abandoned their posts and ISIS prisoners were out. Our intelligence office is active.” 

However, he said, the former Kabul administration should be asked why they had abandoned jails and security posts that resulted in loot, plundering and a chaotic situation. “We have restored calm. Every passing day situation is improving,” he said.

About jailbreak or release of ISIS terrorists, he said the security forces should have handed over the posts and offices instead of abandoning them. 

He asserted that ISIS was a “foreign phenomenon, as it does not have roots in Afghanistan.” He said those foreign elements had gone into hiding, suggesting them to leave the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

“We have a clear policy that we will not let anyone use Afghan soil against Pakistan or any other country. The coming era is of development and prosperity.”

Regarding media reports that Pakistan had provided a list of most wanted Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists to Haibatullah Akhunzada, Suhail Shaheen said he was unaware of any such list being provided to the Afghan Taliban leadership.

Meanwhile, two Taliban sources told AFP the group would not announce the formation of its government or cabinet until the last US soldier had left Afghanistan.

Earlier, the Taliban spokesman told Sky News that staying beyond the agreed deadline would be “extending occupation”. He said: “If the US or UK were to seek additional time to continue evacuations, the answer is no… there would be consequences.”

President Joe Biden had announced he wanted to end the US military presence and airlifts by August 31. Still, with the European Union and Britain saying it would be impossible to get everyone out by then, he is pressured to extend the deadline.

In the capital, the Taliban have enforced some sense of calm in a city marred by crime and plunder after the previous administration personnel abandoned the security posts and fled. Their armed men patrolled the streets and manning checkpoints.

A committee would also be formed to draft a constitution, decide about voting rights, and prepare a framework that would ensure the provision of rights to all segments of society, adding that all aspects ranging from women rights to media freedom would be step by step included in the framework.

With government offices still closed, many Afghans are worried about being paid. However, the Taliban on Mon­day appointed Haji Mohammad Idrees as central bank governor to keep the wheels of finance moving.

The story was filed by the News Desk.
The Desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk.

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