The Taliban says the US occupation forces in Afghanistan are engaged in “transporting by their choppers” members of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the war-torn country’s east.
Senior members of a Taliban delegation, who are on an official visit to Iran for talks on the Afghan peace process and relevant topics, made the assertion in a news conference in Tehran on Monday, saying that the US forces in Afghanistan are assisting the Daesh terrorists to escape the areas that are coming under the Taliban control.
“Daesh were in Nangarhar and Kunar; they existed in those areas. They were eliminated by the Taliban there but their members were transferred by choppers,” Suhail Shaheen, a negotiating member of the Taliban told reporters, adding, “When the Taliban laid a siege on them, we saw that only American choppers could fly as the Afghan airspace is fully under the control of Americans.”
The senior Taliban member also referred to the escalation of violence in Afghanistan after the US-Taliban deal last February and said the US forces were to blame as they defaulted on their obligation to end their occupation and resumed the assault.
“After the signing of the agreement, we gave a chance to the Americans to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan and we were committed not to launch any attacks, so if they terminated the occupation we were committed to refrain from any assaults or attacks so it would pave the way for intra-Afghan talks but unfortunately new attacks were launched against us and we were forced to defend ourselves and they even tried to capture our region and they conducted nightly attacks,” he said.
“We have no access to the media but they have. They attribute violence to us and that is not true. They start the violence. They start the violent action and that’s still continuing.”
During the news conference, the Taliban negotiator said the group was after an “inclusive system and establishment” in Afghanistan and not after “monopolizing power,” adding that they would reconsider the agreement with US if foreign forces failed to withdraw from Afghanistan.
“We have resisted the occupation of Afghanistan for 20 years and we will continue resistance against occupation if foreign forces remain in the country,” the senior Taliban member said.
Last week, the Taliban political delegation arrived in Tehran at the invitation of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, the latest of such visits that have been paid several times over the past months.
Iran strongly supports the realization of peace and stability in Afghanistan, which has been embroiled in decades of militancy fueled by foreign military intervention.
The intra-Afghan talks started after the United States agreed to withdraw 12,000 US troops from Afghanistan in exchange for the Taliban’s halting of their attacks on international forces under a deal between the two sides in February 2020.
The deal was intended to result in the reduction of bloodshed, but violence continues to take a heavy toll on the country.
In recent months, deadly attacks and high-profile assassinations have seen a rise in Afghanistan. The Taliban have denied responsibility for the killings, but Afghan and US officials have pinned the blame on the group.
Despite the ongoing talks between Kabul and the Taliban, the administration of US President Joe Biden has said it would review the peace deal reached last year.
The US first invaded Afghanistan in 2001 under the banner of fighting “terrorism.” The invasion toppled the Taliban, but the group has never stopped its attacks, citing the foreign military presence as one of the main reasons behind its continued militancy.
Since the US invasion of Afghanistan, Washington has spent more than two trillion dollars for the war on the impoverished country, according to some estimates. Over 2,400 US soldiers and tens of thousands of Afghan civilians have been killed.