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World Taliban says security of airports, embassies to be 'Afghan responsibility'

17:16  12 june  2021
17:16  12 june  2021 Source:   afp.com

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Foreign forces should hold 'no hope' of keeping a military presence in Afghanistan after the US and NATO withdraw troops, the Taliban said Saturday, warning the security of embassies and airports would be the responsibility of Afghans.

a man wearing a military uniform standing in front of a building: The decision to end America's longest war has raised fears that an emboldened Taliban could topple the Western-backed government in Kabul © WAKIL KOHSAR The decision to end America's longest war has raised fears that an emboldened Taliban could topple the Western-backed government in Kabul

It comes as western diplomats and military officials scramble to work out how to provide security for any future civilian presence they keep in the country.

Turkey has reportedly said it is prepared to keep troops in Afghanistan to protect Kabul airport, the main exit route for western diplomats and humanitarian workers.

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"Every inch of Afghan soil, its airports and security of foreign embassies and diplomatic offices is the responsibility of the Afghans, consequently no one should hold out hope of keeping military or security presence in our country," a statement issued by the Taliban on Saturday said.

"If anyone does make such a mistake, the Afghan people and the Islamic Emirate shall view them as occupiers and shall take a stance against them," it added.

The United States is in the final stages of completing a military drawdown, alongside NATO forces, by September 11 -- twenty years after they invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban.

The decision to end America's longest war has raised fears that an emboldened Taliban could topple the Western-backed government in Kabul.

Roadside bomb kills 11 people in northern Afghanistan

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Video: Who are the Taliban? | Start Here (Dailymotion)

The possibility of keeping troops in Afghanistan is expected to be discussed during a meeting of NATO leaders in Brussels on Monday.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said last month the alliance would provide funding to help run Kabul airport and train Afghanistan's special forces after it had left.

Turkish media later reported that Ankara was willing to maintain a presence in the country, including at the country's main gateway, if NATO provided financial support.

The Taliban has attempted to calm foreign missions by saying they could "continue their operations as usual", after Australia closed its embassy citing an "increasingly uncertain security environment".

The militants have in recent weeks made territorial gains in and around the country, including in provinces close to the capital.

On Saturday, at least seven civilians were killed in two separate explosions in the city, the Interior Ministry said, the latest in a series of bombings targeting buses.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

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Taliban close to taking Afghan province of Uruzgan where Australian troops served .
The Afghan province where Australian forces served for the best part of two decades could be the first to fall back under Taliban control as foreign militaries withdraw from the war-torn country. Fierce fighting between government forces and Taliban insurgents is continuing across Uruzgan Province with both sides claiming to have inflicted heavy casualties against each other.Military and Afghan analysts believe the Taliban now controls five of the six districts in Uruzgan Province, while the provisional capital of Tarin Kot is considered contested.

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