Taliban repeat criticism of United States military

Taliban repeat criticism of United States military

The U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation formally began withdrawing their last troops from Afghanistan Saturday, according to White House and military officials, bringing America's longest war closer to an end.

"Make no mistake, we have the military means to respond forcefully to any type of attacks against the coalition and the military means to support the (Afghan) security forces", he said.

Biden's prolonging of the Afghan war will also reportedly require the deployment of additional troops between May and September, according to CNN and Afghan news outlets. On Friday, a truck bomb in Logar province killed 21 people, many of them police and students.

It was not clear who was behind the attack, but the government blamed the Taliban who said they were looking into the matter.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter on Saturday that the passing deadline meant "this violation in principle has opened the way for (Taliban fighters) to take every counter-action it deems appropriate against the occupying forces".

Biden did not explicitly state that he is personally responsible for the decision to end America's military engagement in Afghanistan - which began in 2001 following the al-Qaeda attacks on September 11 of that year - but implied that his leadership will end that engagement.

In an exclusive interview with CNN - conducted through intermediaries - two al Qaeda operatives told CNN: "War against the United States will be continuing on all other fronts unless they are expelled from the rest of the Islamic world".

"We can't rule out attacks", said Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Programme at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.

While the majority of USA lawmakers support bringing an immediate end to the 20-year long battle with the Taliban, some are concerned it could reignite human rights abuses, particularly for Afghan women.

In the lead up to May 1, sources said there was a flurry of meetings as negotiations with the Taliban over the deadline extension continued.

There are between 2,500-3,500 US troops and about 7,000 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops remaining in Afghanistan, the last of whom will leave by the end of the summer. The Taliban said they discussed the peace process and their request that Taliban leaders be removed from sanctions lists.

The U.S.is estimated to have spent $2 trillion in Afghanistan alone over the last 20 years, losing over 2,300 American soldiers during the fighting that ensued, along with an estimated over 47,000 Taliban and Afghan civilians, according to the Costs of War project.

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