Afghan Taliban Warns US Of ‘Consequences’ For Delayed Withdrawal

Afghan Taliban’s political chief, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, warned the US that a final resolution will be made if the US forces fail to withdraw from Afghanistan according to the mutually accepted timeline.

In an interview with Iranian Tasnim News Agency, Baradar said the Doha pact between the Taliban and the US necessitates the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan under a 14-month timetable.

“The results of the implementation of the Doha pact 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 US troops has been lessened to 8,600, as this process continues,” he added.

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

On intra-Afghan talks for the peace talks in Afghanistan, Baradar emphasised that there is no secret arrangement between the Taliban and the US.

The Taliban assert that the Afghan government “should release the Taliban prisoners according to the Doha pact to make the ground for the launch of intra-Afghan dialogue”, he said, rejecting reports that the Taliban has presented a new list of prisoners to the Ghani government in Kabul.

“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 drive 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 protecting the Islamic establishment and their country,” he concluded.

Taliban had earlier stated that they were ready to hold peace talks with the Afghan government next month straight after Eid al-Adha, provided a continuing prisoner swap has been completed.

The Taliban’s political spokesman, Suhail Shaheen, tweeted 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 Afghan government is supposed to release up to 5,000 Taliban fighters, while the armed group has promised to free 1,000 Afghan security forces from their custody, according to the US-Taliban pact.