Tuesday Aug 24, 2021
The Taliban have asked the US not to encourage the Afghans from leaving their homeland, saying they are "not in favour" of such a move.
In a media briefing in Kabul, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said "we are not in favour of allowing Afghans to leave", as translated from Pashto to English by his interpreter.
In a speech that continued the conciliatory messaging put out by the movement since its lightning seizure of Kabul on August 15, Zabihullah Mujahid said the focus was on clearing up and improving security.
Mujahid said the crowds of Afghans thronging Kabul airport seeking a flight out of the country could go home and urged them to help rebuild their country.
"We need their expertise," he said, adding that once security was re-established, women would be able to return to work as normal.
He also denied reports that Taliban patrols were conducting house to house searches to find targets for reprisals, saying: "We have forgotten everything in the past."
Mujahid repeated that the Taliban wanted good diplomatic relations with other countries and wanted foreign embassies to remain open.
The spokesman said any extension in the August 31 deadline of US troops and foreign nationals, if being considered, is "unilateral".
"The extension was unilateral by the United States. It was a violation of the agreement. We want them to evacuate all foreign nationals by the 31st of August. And we are not in favour of allowing Afghans to leave," the interpreter said, in response to a question by a journalist asking if the deadline can be reconsidered under any conditions.
In response to another question, Mujahid said he "cannot confirm" if Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar met CIA chief William Burns.
He also said the movement wanted dialogue to resolve the situation in the province of Panjshir, where forces loyal to Ahmad Massoud, son of the former anti-Soviet commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, had gathered.
A US administration official said on Tuesday that Biden had accepted a Pentagon recommendation to remove US troops from Afghanistan by the end of the month, but that the decision was contingent on whether the Taliban cooperates in helping the United States complete evacuations.