In his first message since taking over as the new Afghan Taliban chief, Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada has called on foreign forces to withdraw its troops from the country. He told the US on 2 July to end its “occupation” of Afghanistan.
Akhundzada said: “Admit the realities instead of useless use of force and muscle show and put an end to the occupation,” the AFP quoted him as saying.
Speaking ahead of the Eid-al-Fitr celebration, which marks the end of the fasting period during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, he added that, “Our message to the American invaders and her allies is this: Afghan Muslim people neither fear… your force nor your stratagem. They consider martyrdom in confrontation with you as a cherished goal of their life.”
His statements have come just days after Taliban set off twin bomb blasts near Kabul that killed 32 Afghan policemen and wounded as many as 78 others.
This was his first public statement since being named the leader of the militant group after the death of his predecessor Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, who was killed by a US drone strike in Pakistan in May.
He warned Washington that: “You are not going to be a winner [if Allah willing].” The militant group’s chief also told those who support the “invaders” are being “used for realization of American goals,” and compared such support to the “work of those abhorrent faces who in our past history supported the Britons and the Soviets.”
The Taliban announced that it has a plan to create an independent and united country based on the Islamic law and urged the Afghan government to renounce its ties with western forces should it wish to seek reconciliation in the country.
“The doors of forgiveness and tolerance are open,” Reuters quoted him as he sent out his message to the US stating the militant group does not want a “monopoly of power” and “all Afghan tribes and races need each other.”
He told his fighters not to aim their attacks against Muslims or public facilities like hospitals or schools, and not to harm people living in areas that are under their regime.
Many international allies withdrew its forces from Afghanistan last year, and since then the Taliban have clinched many victories in controlling territories. It now holds more regions under its control than it has ever had since 2001.