Taliban urges neighboring countries against hosting US bases
The Taliban has urged neighbouring countries against hosting US military bases after Washington signalled it could station troops close to Afghanistan's borders to prevent the country from becoming a haven for militants.
Without naming specific countries, the Taliban said in a statement on Wednesday that granting the 'concession' of a US military presence would be "a great historic mistake and disgrace".
"As we have repeatedly assured others that our soil will not be used against the security of others, we are similarly urging others not to use their soil and airspace against our country," the statement read.
The Taliban warned it would not "remain silent" if such steps are taken and that the responsibility for "all the misfortunes and difficulties" would fall on the countries that agree to host US troops.
It comes after General Kenneth McKenzie, commander of the US Central Command, told the Senate that some US troops would remain "stationed nearby Afghanistan" after President Joe Biden's 11 September withdrawal deadline.
The Biden administration is in talks with "several Central Asian neighbours of Afghanistan" to assess where troops can be redeployed to sustain the US' ability to conduct counterterrorism operations in the region.
Top US and Afghan officials believe transnational jihadist groups, such as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group, remain potent in the war-torn country and there are fears the foreign troop withdrawal will embolden them to plan attacks on government forces.
Intense fighting with the Taliban east and west of Kabul has plunged the future of Ashraf Ghani's government into uncertainty and put Western powers are on high alert.
A Turkish garrison will be deployed near Kabul airport and 600 US marines and an unspecified number of troops could be deployed to guard Washington's embassy, according to a report.https://t.co/8qwoqjp9rr— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) May 27, 2021
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Pakistan, which shares a 2,6000 kilometre border with Afghanistan, is the main option for Washington but it has ruled out the possibility of hosting a US base or allowing drone operations on Afghanistan to be launched from Pakistani soil.
On Monday, Zamir Kabulov, Russia’s envoy for Afghanistan, said that Uzbekistan and Tajikistan had assured Moscow that basing US troops in their countries was "impossible".