Taliban Warns Departing US Against New Bases In Region

ISLAMABAD — The Taliban Warns Departing US troops against establishing outposts in the region on Wednesday, while Pakistan said no American outposts would be permitted on its soil.

Drone strikes from Pakistani territory are also off the table, according to Pakistan.

The assertions come amid speculation that the US may seek a nearby location from which to conduct strikes on insurgent targets as it withdraws the rest of its 2,500-3,500 troops from Afghanistan.

The warning comes amid increased efforts to restart stalled peace negotiations between the government and the Taliban, which might take place in Turkey.

Pakistan and Qatar, a Middle Eastern country, have pressed the Taliban to attend negotiations in Turkey. U.N.-sponsored discussions were to have been conducted last month in Turkey but the Taliban declined to take part.

In the meantime, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi warned Pakistan’s Senate on Tuesday that the government would not accept American outposts on its soil.

“Forget the history, but I want to assure Pakistanis that Prime Minister Imran Khan would not accept a US base as long as he is in power,” he stated.

Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Pakistan gave four air bases to the US-led coalition to help in its operations in Afghanistan to track down the al-Qaida culprits and depose the Taliban authorities who had provided them with safe shelter.

President Joe Biden declared in an April address proclaiming the end of America’s “long war” that Washington would hold the Taliban and the government to their promises to ensure Afghanistan could not be used as a staging ground for attacks on the American homeland or its allies again.

“We will not lose sight of the terrorist threat,” Biden stated. “We will rearrange our counterterrorism capabilities and the vast assets in the region to avoid re-emergence of the terrorist threat to our nation beyond the horizon.”

The United States, along with around 7,000 NATO troops, will depart Afghanistan by September 11 at the latest. The US Central Command said earlier this week that it had completed around 25% of its withdrawal. The logistics of evacuating are enormous, and according to a statement from CENTCOM, leaving troops have already loaded military equipment into 160 C-17 cargo planes and flown them back to the United States.

Apart from airlifting supplies, the US is also transporting equipment out of Afghanistan via Central Asia and Pakistan.

The Taliban issued a statement warning neighboring nations against allowing their land to be used as a staging location for American forces.

“If such a move is taken, God forbid, it will be a tremendous historic blunder and humiliation, and its dishonor will go down in history,” the statement read. “We urge others not to use their soil and airspace against our country, as we have repeatedly assured others that our soil will not be used against anyone’s security.”

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