A spokesman for the Tailban has come out and stated that the United States would face “consequences” if troops are to remain in Afghanistan beyond the August 31 deadline.
Suhail Shaheen went on to describe the end of the month deadline as the “red line” and then stated there could be ramifications if the troops stay beyond that date because “it will create mistrust between us. If they are intent on continuing occupation, it will provoke a reaction.”
“President Biden announced that on 31 August they would withdraw all their military forces. So if they extend it, that means they are extending occupation while there is no need for that,” he said during an interview Sky News . “If the U.S. or U.K. were to seek additional time to continue evacuations — the answer is no. Or there would be consequences.”
Biden’s withdrawal date was pushed up from Sept. 11, which coincided with the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that precipitated the war in Afghanistan. He has indicated nonetheless that he’s open to keeping troops past the deadline to ensure U.S. citizens and Afghan allies are able to safely evacuate the country that’s now under Taliban control.
“Let me be clear: Any American who wants to come home, we will get you home,” the president said on Friday. “I cannot promise what the final outcome will be or that it will be without risk of loss. But as commander in chief, I can assure you that I will mobilize every resource necessary.”
Since Aug. 14, the U.S. has evacuated or helped facilitate the evacuation of approximately 37,000 people, and that number rises to about 42,000 people in the entire month of August.
“They occupied our country. If we occupy your country. What you will say to me? What if I killed your people in your country? What you will say?” Shaheen continued. “I think all people suffered a lot. Bloodshed. Destruction. Everything. But we say the past is the past. Part of our past history. Now we want to focus on the future.”
Shaheen dismissed the scenes at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, where people were seen clinging on to the outside of a U.S. military aircraft in a desperate attempt to get out of the country, chalking it up to those individuals wanting to live in a Western country.
“I assure you it is not about being worried or scared,” he claimed. “They want to reside in Western countries, and that is a kind of economic migration because Afghanistan is a poor country, and 70% of the people of Afghanistan live under the line of poverty, so everyone wants to resettle in Western countries to have a prosperous life. It is not about [being] scared,” he proclaimed.
The spokesman then went on to comment on reports that have been coming out about Taliban violence and acts of intimidation, saying these were all “fake news,” going on to add, “I can assure you there are many reports by our opponents claiming what is not based on realities.”
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated over the weekend that there have been “incidents” Taliban violence against Americans who have been trying to get to the airport in Kabul so they can leave the country.
“As we learn about those incidents — we certainly go back and engage the Taliban leadership and press home to them that our expectation is that they allow, you know, our people with the appropriate credentials to get through the checkpoints,” the secretary said.
Shaheen then commented on how women would be treated under the rule of the Taliban, stating that they will “have the same rights as you have in your country, but with a hijab,” noting that women “will lose nothing” if they put on the traditional garment.