Taliban spokesman warns U.S. to stop interfering in Afghanistan

The Taliban have warned the United States against further interference in Afghanistan, a Taliban spokesman told the Arabic news network Al Jazeera on Sunday, after the insurgent group seized control of three provincial capitals within days of each other.

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According to Muhammad Naeem Wardak, spokesman for the Taliban's political office, there is no cease-fire agreement on the horizon with the Afghan government as the Taliban continue to reap military successes.

The comments came after the Taliban on Sunday seized control of Kunduz, the strategically important provincial capital in northern Afghanistan. It is the first major city to fall under the insurgent group's control since it began its offensive in May, dealing a major blow to the Afghan government.



Afghans inspect damaged shops after fighting between Taliban and Afghan security forces in Kunduz city, northern Afghanistan, Sunday, August 8, 2021.


It is also the latest in a series of Taliban victories as the withdrawal of U.S.-led foreign troops from Afghanistan comes to an end.
On Friday, the Taliban took control of the provincial capital of Zaranj, near the Iranian border; the next day, insurgents seized the provincial capital of Sherberghan, near the border with Turkmenistan. On Sunday, Taliban forces largely captured the provincial capital of Sar-e-Pul, also in the north of the country.
The country's precipitous plunge into the abyss of violence has shocked many. There are fears that even the capital, Kabul, could fall.

Last week, the United States stepped up air strikes against Taliban positions in an attempt to halt their advance. The Taliban accused the U.S. of bombing a hospital and an institute, as well as other civilian targets in Helmand province. CNN has been unable to independently verify their claims.
"U.S. troops have conducted several airstrikes in recent days in defense of our Afghan partners," U.S. Central Command spokeswoman Maj. Nicole Ferrara told CNN on Sunday, dodging a question about the purpose of the strikes.
Speaking to Al Jazeera on Sunday, Wardak warned the United States against further intervention and blamed the Afghan government for triggering the recent fighting.
"It was the Afghan government that decided to start a war in different provinces," Wardak said. The measures taken by the Taliban were a response and reaction to the government's attacks and actions."
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul criticized the Taliban's offensive against Afghan cities, saying Sunday that their actions to "forcibly impose their rule are unacceptable and contradict their claim to support a negotiated settlement in the Doha peace process."
"They show blatant disregard for the welfare and rights of civilians and will aggravate the humanitarian crisis in that country," the embassy said.


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