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Taliban Urge Townspeople in Afghanistan to Surrender

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The Taliban have called on townspeople in Afghanistan to surrender to avoid fighting in towns. At the same time, they warn Ankara against keeping Turkish troops in the country after the retreat of the other foreign troops.

 

“Now that the fighting from the mountains and the deserts has reached the gates of cities, the mujahideen do not want battle in cities. Therefore, our compatriots should use all their channels to get in touch with us to come to a sensible deal to avoid damage in their cities,” said Amir Khan Muttaki, a top Islamist executive.

Former Minister of Information and Culture when the Taliban ruled, he heads the Insurgent Invitation and Council Committee. Soldiers, policemen, heads of government, officials, or ordinary citizens who wish to defect or surrender should apply to that Commission. The Taliban “assure all residents (…) that Afghanistan will be their homeland for all and that no one seeks revenge,” Moettaki added in an audio message.

In May, the foreign troops began to withdraw definitively. Instead, the Taliban have used it to launch an offensive. After taking over vast rural areas in the last two months, they surround several provincial capitals. Devoid of vital US air support, the Afghan military has offered little resistance. It essentially only controls major cities and major traffic axes.

The Taliban have also warned Turkey to retain troops in Afghanistan to protect Kabul airport. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a few days ago that there is an agreement between Ankara and Washington regarding the modalities of the Turkish takeover of the airport. The Turkish NATO contingent has so far provided security and essential services there.

“The decision of the Turkish leaders is not prudent. It is a violation of our sovereignty and our territorial integrity and against our national interests,” the Islamists said in a statement. They speak of a “reproachable” decision. “We regard keeping foreign troops in our homeland, by whatever country and under whatever pretext, as an occupation,” the insurgents warn.

“If the Turkish authorities do not reverse their decision to continue occupying our country,” the Taliban will “resist as they have done during twenty years of foreign occupation”.

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