London: The Taliban on Monday warned that there will be “consequences” if the US and allies like UK sought to extend the August 31 deadline for the withdrawal of US-led troops from the war-torn country.
Speaking to Sky News in Doha, Taliban spokesperson Dr Suhail Shaheen said that the deadline was a “red line” and any extension would imply an extended occupation of the country, news agency PTI reported.
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Ahead of the emergency G7 meeting on Afghanistan, the Taliban spokesperson said that the timeline was laid out by US President Joe Biden and threatened “consequences” if the US and UK sought an extension.
“It’s a red line. President Biden announced that on 31 August they would withdraw all their military forces. So if they extend it that means they are extending occupation while there is no need for that,” Shaheen said.
“If the US or UK were to seek additional time to continue evacuations the answer is no. Or there would be consequences. It will create mistrust between us. If they are intent on continuing the occupation it will provoke a reaction,” he added.
The warning has come as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has convened an emergency G7 meeting on Tuesday in his role as current Chair of the Group of Seven countries Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and the UK.
The agenda for the meet is expected to be about pushing the US to seek an extension of the August 31 deadline, as crucial evacuation of foreign nationals from the Taliban-controlled region is underway.
The spokesperson has termed desperate scenes at Kabul airport, where people risk their lives to escape Taliban rule, as economic migration.
“I assure you it is not about being worried or scared. They want to reside in Western countries and that is a kind of economic migration because Afghanistan is a poor country and 70 per cent of the people of Afghanistan live under the line of poverty so everyone wants to resettle in Western countries to have a prosperous life. It is not about [being] scared,” Shaheen claimed, as reported by PTI.
He also called that reports of door-to-door knocks to seek out former government workers as “All fake news. I can assure you there are many reports by our opponents claiming what is not based on realities.”
On women’s rights, the representative continues to claim that women under Taliban rule would have the same rights as elsewhere as long as they wear a hijab – even though worrying reports about womens’ condition under Taliban rule appear.
“Women are required to have the same rights as you have in your country but with a hijab,” he was quoted as saying.
“Now, women teachers have resumed work. Lost nothing. Female journalists they have resumed their work. Lost nothing,” he claimed.