Americas, Middle East

Taliban: 'Soviet withdrawal is lesson to US'

- Taliban spokesman says US can refer to Soviet experience and pull its troops out of Afghanistan

Elena Teslova   | 16.02.2019
Taliban: 'Soviet withdrawal is lesson to US'

Moskova

By Elena Teslova

MOSCOW

Washington should reconsider its strategy in Afghanistan, the Taliban said Friday, amid the 30th anniversary of the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the country.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Taliban spokesman Mohammad Suhail Shaheen said the U.S. should "let the Afghan people live peacefully and independently and rebuild their own country".

Emphasizing that it had been Moscow itself that had come to the conclusion that Afghanistan cannot be controlled or permanently occupied, Shaheen said this was one of the pillars of the Afghan peace process.

He further stressed that the logical conclusion of the current negotiations for a political settlement to the Afghan issue was the "full withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan and the establishment of an inclusive Islamic government".

"There was agreement that the Taliban's political office in Doha should be formally opened and the blacklist of the Taliban members removed,” Shaheen said, adding this along with the release of Taliban prisoners would accelerate the peace process and create an atmosphere of trust.

Earlier this week, Russian Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov backed the removal of sanctions on the Taliban in order to avoid placing obstacles on its members traveling to the peace meetings.

Commenting on the upcoming presidential elections, Shaheen said the Taliban did not believe in "electoral fairness under the occupation".

Urging the nominees to work for peace, he said "it is up to them to decide which role they will play. If negative, then the consequences will be matching. If it is a constructive one, it will be appreciated and supported," he said.

On Feb.15, 1989, the limited contingent of Soviet troops occupying Afghanistan for a decade completely withdrew from the country after more than 15,000 servicemen died over the past 10 years. The war was extremely unpopular in the USSR and is considered one of the main reasons behind the collapse of the Soviet state.

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