Taliban chef says US exit is ‘our happiest moment’
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Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told NBC News there was “no proof” that al Qaeda’s late leader Osama bin Laden was responsible. US-backed forces ousted the Taliban in late 2001 after their leadership refused to cave into US demands to make bin Laden leave Afghanistan. Speaking to NBC News, Mr Mujahid said: “We don’t want our countrymen to go to America whatever they have done in the past, we have given them amnesty.
“We need young, educated professionals for our nation but if they want to leave it’s their choice.”
Asked on his thoughts that Afghan women are “terrified”, he continued: “They are our sisters, we must show them respect. They should not be frightened.
“The Taliban are humans and from this country. They have fought for their country, women should be proud of us not scared.”
Mr Mujahid said: “When Osama bin Laden became an issue for the Americans he was in Afghanistan.
“Although there was no proof he was involved, now we have given promises that Afghan soil won’t be used against anyone.
“There is no evidence, even after 20 years of war we have no proof bin Laden was involved.
“There was no justification for this war, it was an excuse for war.”
He added: “The withdrawal is almost finished, these are our happiest moments.”
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It comes as Russia has yet to determine its position towards the Taliban, and will see how they act toward the Afghan population and Russian diplomats, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson said on Thursday.
“We think that the Taliban’s dominance, the de facto rise to power of the Taliban in Afghanistan and them taking most over the country under their control is de facto an accomplished process,” Dmitry Peskov told a briefing.
He said Moscow now wanted to see how this would translate into the security situation for the Afghan people and Russian diplomats in the country.
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Moscow is interested in peace and stability in Afghanistan and will likely continue contacts with Washington on issues arising there, he added.
“The situation certainly requires exchange of opinions, exchange of information, so, of course, it is highly likely that such contacts will continue,” Peskov said.
Four Russian military planes evacuated Russian and other nationals from Kabul on Wednesday on the orders of President Vladimir Putin, as Moscow held military exercises involving its tank forces in neighbouring Tajikistan.
Meanwhile, Russian ally and Afghanistan’s northern neighbour Tajikistan this week warned it would not recognise an exclusively Taliban government.
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