Taliban militant leader urges US to end Afghan ‘occupation’

July 2, 2016 3:00 pm

Haibatullah Akhundzada, the new
leader of the Taliban militant group, is seen in an undated photograph
released on May 25, 2016. ©Reuters

The new leader of the Taliban
militant group has called on the to end its “occupation” of
as foreign forces are still present in the country 15 years
after Washington launched its so-called war on terror.

“Admit
the realities instead of useless use of force and muscle … and put an
end to the occupation,” Akhundzada said on Saturday in his first
message since being appointed the Taliban leader.
He also noted
that the Afghan nation stands firm against invaders, stressing that
Afghans “neither fear … your force nor your stratagem.”
The
Taliban chief further warned those supporting invaders that they are
following suit of “those abhorrent faces who … supported the Britons and
the Soviets” in the past.
Elsewhere in his comments, Akhundzada
raised the possibility of an agreement with the Afghan government if
Kabul renounced what he called its foreign allies.
The Taliban planned to create an independent and united country, he said.

Afghan
security personnel gather near the wreckage of buses, which were
carrying police cadets, at the site of a bomb attack on the outskirts of
Kabul on June 30, 2016. ©AFPAkhundzada was
picked as the Taliban’s leader, when former ringleader Mullah Akhtar
Mansour was killed in an American drone attack in a remote border area
inside Pakistan on May 21.
The Taliban has seen a string of
defections ever since the about the death of Mullah Omar, Mansour’s
predecessor, broke in late July 2015. Mullah Omar died at a hospital in
Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi in April 2013, but his death
was kept secret for two years.
Afghanistan faces a security
challenge years after the  and its allies invaded the Asian
state in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror.
The
offensive removed the Taliban from power, but many areas in the country
are still beset with bomb attacks, kidnapping incidents and murders.

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