Taliban: No extension to foreign troop withdrawal

Tuesday, August 24th, 2021 03:12 | By
Protesters shout and gesture during a rally in support for Afghanistan following the take over of the country by the Taliban, at Place de la Republique in Paris, yesterday.

Kabul, Monday

The Taliban will not agree to an extension of the evacuation mission from Afghanistan,  a spokesman for the group told British news channel Sky News.

The move would mean “extending occupation” and that is “a red line”, Suhail Shaheen, a member of the Taliban delegation in Doha, the capital of Qatar, said today.

US President Joe Biden said on Sunday that the “hard and painful” airlift of Americans and tens of thousands of others from Afghanistan’s capital is accelerating, but he would not rule out extending it beyond the August 31 deadline he set before the Taliban’s swift takeover.

The airport has been the scene of chaos since the Taliban seized the Afghan capital on August 15 as US and international forces try to evacuate citizens and vulnerable Afghans. 

A NATO official has said that at least 20 people have died in and around the airport in the past week.

German military

An Afghan security guard has been killed in a fire fight between unknown gunmen and Afghan forces at the north gate of Kabul airport, the German military said, as thousands thronged the airport, seeking to flee Taliban rule.

Three more people were injured in the gun battle on Monday morning that has also involved German and United States forces, the German military said on Twitter.

 The Taliban have appointed an acting head of the Afghanistan central bank to help ease growing economic turmoil, more than a week after the Islamist movement seized the capital Kabul, a statement says.

Haji Mohammad Idris was named as acting governor of the central bank to help bring order to a war-crippled economy, which has been adrift for more than a week with banks closed and many government offices empty. 

He was expected to help organise institutions and address the economic issues facing the population, a statement from Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said. 

Gasoline exports

Iran restarted exports of gasoline and gasoil to Afghanistan a few days ago, after receiving a request from the Taliban, Iran’s Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Products Exporters’ Union says.

“The Taliban sent messages to Iran saying ‘you can continue the exports of petroleum products’,” Hamid Hosseini, union board member and spokesperson in Tehran, told Reuters news agency, adding that some Iranian traders had been cautious due to security concerns.

 Iranian exports began a few days ago, after the Taliban cut tariffs on imports of fuel from Iran up to 70 per cent, Hosseini added. - Agencies

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