Reacting to reports that the US was considering the establishment of military bases in Afghanistan’s neighboring countries, the Taliban in a statement on Tuesday warned neighboring countries against such a move, saying that the Taliban will "not remain silent" and "will fulfill its religious and historical responsibilities in the same way as it has performed throughout history."
The statement read: "As we have repeatedly assured others that our soil will not be used against the security of others, we are similarly urging others not to use their soil and airspace against our country. If such a step is taken, then the responsibility for all the misfortunes and difficulties lies upon those who commit such mistakes."
"God forbid, if such a step is taken once again, it will be a great historic mistake and disgrace that shall forever be inscribed as a dark stain in history," said the statement.
The Taliban said that if Afghanistan’s neighboring countries allow foreign bases, there would be future consequences.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi rejected reports that Pakistan was building military bases on its soil amid claims that the US was considering bases in Balochistan province.
“When a member of the foreign relations committee of the US Senate talks about things that Pakistan will provide them-- like air access and ground facilities--it means there is something going on behind the scenes. Although Pakistan has rejected this, it looks like a necessary option to promote friendly relations between Pakistan, the US and Afghanistan,” said Pakistani journalist Tahir Khan.
Previously, AFP quoted a US defense official saying that Pakistan had allowed the US to use Pakistan’s air space in support of US forces deployed in Afghanistan.
“A beggar does not have the right to choose, because the owner of the house has the ability to decide. Pakistan does not have the right to choose,” said military analyst Atiqullah Amerkhel.
Fighting in Afghanistan has surged and peace talks in Doha halted following President Joe Biden's announcement that he was extending the US pullout deadline to September 11, 2021. However, there have recently been two meetings between negotiators.
Taliban sources said that the group will attend the proposed US-led conference on Afghanistan in Turkey with three preconditions:
“The conference must be short, the agenda should not include decision-making on critical issues, and the Taliban delegation should be low level, a senior Taliban leader told VOA Tuesday.
“Our leadership has proposed that the Istanbul meeting should not be longer than three days,” said the leader who did not want to be identified as he is not allowed to speak on the record.
“They (Taliban) come up with numerous reasons to escape from engaging in an effective dialogue,” said Mohammad Amiri, a deputy spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani.
This comes two days after the Russian special envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kaboluv in an interview with Sputnik rejected speculations that the US was considering military bases in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
President Joe Biden announced earlier that the complete withdrawal would be finished by September 11, 2021.
US Central Command announced on Tuesday that they estimate the US withdrawal from Afghanistan to be somewhere between 16% and 25% complete.
Approximately 160 C-17 loads of materiel and equipment have left Afghanistan, the US Department of Defense (DoD) reported, and more than 10,000 pieces of military equipment have been turned over to the Defense Logistics Agency.
US-controlled installations in Afghanistan are also being returned to the Afghan Defense Ministry, and so far five installations have been handed back, said the DoD.