Emboldened Taliban Send Warning to Biden: 'It's a Red Line'
The Taliban rulers of Afghanistan are warning President Joe Biden of “consequences” against the country if he were to delay the withdrawal of troops past the original date.
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen appeared in an interview with Sky News on Monday to issue a warning to Biden, as well as the United Kingdom and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, regarding Biden’s promise to withdraw all military forces.
Biden first announced the withdrawal of troops in April with a target date of Sept. 11, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The date was moved to Aug. 31 in July, as reported by The Associated Press.
NEW: The Taliban has met with our Sky News team in Doha & issued a stark warning about troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by 31st August:
“It’s a red line”
“If they are intent on continuing the occupation it will provoke a reaction” pic.twitter.com/6nUUZFT91F
— SallyLockwood (@sallylockwood) August 23, 2021
“It is a red line,” Shaheen told Sky News, referring to the deadline set by Biden. “President Biden announced that on 31 August, they would withdraw all their military forces.”
Shaheen warned that any extension of the deadline constituted “extending occupation while there is no need for that,” according to Sky News
The spokesman also made it clear that the Taliban would respond “no” if either the United States or the United Kingdom were to ask for additional time to continue the evacuations of citizens and personnel, warning of “consequences” if they moved to do so, Sky News reported.
“It will create mistrust between us,” Shaheen said in the interview. “If they are intent on continuing the occupation … it will provoke a reaction.”
Later in the interview, Sky News reported, Shaheen answered a question in regards to what the Taliban would say to those whose family members died in Afghanistan.
“They occupied our country. If we occupy your country, what will you say to me?” Shaheen said. “What if I killed your people in your country? What you will say?”
Shaheen said the people of Afghanistan had suffered through “bloodshed, destruction,” but recognized that the past was “part of their history” and claimed that the country wants to focus on the future.
Since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, reports have suggested that the group’s gunmen have been hunting down and executing those who have U.S. ties, which included retribution killings of Afghan commanders.
In one case, a Deutsche Welle editor’s relative was executed while a second relative was seriously injured after the group initiated a manhunt for the journalist, although the reason remained unclear.
In a new effort to prevent citizens from leaving Afghanistan, Taliban security guards have also reportedly begun seizing passports of Afghan-Americans at checkpoints around Kabul’s airport.
The United Kingdom, along with France, has sent additional troops to the region to evacuate citizens and personnel from Afghanistan, as the Biden administration opted to negotiate with the Taliban to allow safe passage for citizens to go to the airport.
The Biden administration also reportedly helped French Embassy personnel evacuate the country while suggesting to U.S. personnel that they could not “guarantee their safety” if they wished to evacuate.
During a news conference in regards to Afghanistan on Friday, one reporter shouted to Biden, asking why he “continue[s] to trust the Taliban.” The president walked away without answering.
A new report from the conservative outlet The National Pulse suggested that the Biden administration had also sabotaged a Trump-era plan to rescue citizens in the country in the event the Taliban took over.
A State Department spokesman disputed that characterization n an interview with Fox News.
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