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Taliban warns neighbouring countries against allowing US military bases – Times of India

Mohammad Naeem, spokesman for the Taliban’s political office, speaks during a joint news conference in Moscow, Russia. (File photo)

KABUL: Taliban on Wednesday warned neighbouring countries against allowing the United States to operate military bases on their soil, following media reports alleging that Pakistan had struck a deal with Washington.

Citing Radio Free Afghanistan, Afghan Online Press reported that the Taliban issued the warning in a statement amid speculation that the Pentagon is eying new bases in the region to use against the insurgents after the planned pull-out of all US forces from Afghanistan by September 11.

Sonny Leggett, the US military spokesman in Afghanistan, said that speculation the United States is seeking to set up military bases in Pakistan are “false”, reported Afghan Online Press.

Earlier, addressing the Pakistani Senate on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan “will never allow any American base on its soil.”

In its statement, the Taliban urged “neighbouring countries not to allow anyone to do so.” Though, Taliban did not name any country.

“If such a step is taken again, it will be a great and historic mistake and disgrace,” the insurgents said, adding that they would “not remain silent in the face of such heinous and provocative acts.”

The planned withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan after two decades has raised concerns over the fate of the government in Kabul in the face of continued violence by Taliban militants that control large swaths of the country.

On May 26, Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry said the army’s commando forces had released 62 people from a Taliban prison in the northern province of Baghlan, reported Afghan Online Press.

The captives, who included 26 civilians and 36 members of Afghan security forces, were released in an overnight operation in the Baghlan-e Markazi district, the ministry said, adding that four Taliban guards were killed during the operation.

The statement comes a day after officials said 41 people were released from a Taliban prison in the country’s western province of Herat.

Taliban has not commented on the operations in Baghlan and Herat yet, reported Afghan Online Press.

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