The Taliban´s new leader told Afghanistan´s government on Tuesday it must cancel a security deal with the United States and expel all foreign troops if it wants peace.
Mullah Mansour made the demand in a message marking the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Adha, his first such message since he formally took charge after the death of founder Mullah Omar was confirmed in July, according to AFP.
“If the Kabul administration wants to end the war and establish peace in the country, it is possible through ending the occupation and revoking all military and security treaties with the invaders,” Mansour said in the message.
Washington and Kabul signed a security deal in September last year allowing around 13,000 foreign troops, including 10,000 US, to stay on after NATO´s combat mission ended in December 2014.
The residual force is not engaged in day-to-day fighting with the Taliban militants but focuses instead on training, support and counter-terrorism operations.
The Taliban, fighting a bloody insurgency since a US-led invasion ousted them from power in 2001, have long said the departure of occupying foreign troops is a necessary condition for meaningful peace talks.
“(Taliban) believes if the country is not under occupation, the problem of the Afghans can be resolved through intra-Afghan understanding,” Mansour said in the message posted in English on the Taliban´s website.