Taliban warn US ‘no right’ to attack Afghanistan after tomorrow

KABUL: While reacting to the US drone strike in Nangarhar province Spokesman for the Taliban’s political office, Suhail Shaheen has warned that Washington will have “no right” to carry out attacks in Afghanistan after August 31.

The United States had launched a drone strike against a Daesh attack “planner” in eastern Afghanistan, the military had said on Friday, a day after a suicide bombing at Kabul airport killed 13 US troops and scores of Afghan civilians.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid

Responding to a question if the US had carried out the drone strike with the Taliban’s consent, Suhail Shaheen said that the Taliban-led government will stop any such attack in Afghanistan after August 31. He said this while talking during Geo News programme “Naya Pakistan”.

Meanwhile, the Taliban’s main spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid condemned an overnight US drone strike against Daesh militants following Thursday’s suicide attack near the airport, calling it a “clear attack on Afghan territory”, Reuters reported.

He was of the view that the US should have informed them before the attack. Talking about the new cabinet, Mujahid said the announcement would be made in the coming week, but in a voice message later, he said the makeup of the new cabinet would be cleared “in one or two weeks”.

Responding to a question about whether any women would be included in the new cabinet, he said this would be a matter for the leadership to decide and he could not anticipate what their decision would be.

Hibatullah Akhundzada

The Taliban’s supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada — who has never made a public appearance and whose whereabouts have largely remained unknown — is in Afghanistan, the hardline Islamist group confirmed on Sunday.

Taliban supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada

“He is present in Kandahar. He has been living there from the very beginning,” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. “He will soon appear in public,” added deputy spokesman Bilal Karimi.

The so-called commander of the faithful, Akhundzada has shepherded the Taliban as its chief since 2016 when snatched from relative obscurity to oversee a movement in crisis.

Little is still known about Akhundzada’s day-to-day role, with his public profile largely limited to the release of annual messages during Islamic holidays.

He has yet to issue any kind of statement since the Taliban swept to power and took control of Afghanistan in mid-August. The Taliban have a long history of keeping their top leader in the shadows.

Taliban’s spokesperson Suhail Shaheen

The group’s enigmatic founder Mullah Mohammad Omar was notorious for his hermit ways and rarely travelled to Kabul when the group was in power in the 1990s.

Instead, Omar stayed largely out of sight in his compound in Kandahar, reluctant even to meet visiting delegations.

Kandahar was the birthplace of the militant movement and the epicentre of the Taliban’s iron-fisted Islamist government in the 1990s.

US drone strike targets Daesh 

Earlier, the US had launched a drone strike against a Daesh attack “planner” in eastern Afghanistan, the military said on Friday.

President Joe Biden had vowed on Thursday that the United States would hunt down those responsible for the attack, saying he had ordered the Pentagon to come up with plans to strike at the perpetrators.

Afghan Taliban

US Central Command had said the strike took place in Nangarhar province, east of Kabul and bordering Pakistan, according to Reuters. “Initial indications are that we killed the target. We know of no civilian casualties,” a US military statement had said. It did not say whether the target was connected with the airport attack.

US plane

A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, had said the strike was against a Daesh militant planning future attacks.