AN AFGHAN security forces member has been killed in a gunfight by ‘unknown assailants,’ as US and German troops joined the fighting at Kabul airport yesterday.
One Afghan security forces member was killed and three others wounded, the Bundeswehr (the German military) said in a tweet yesterday, adding no German soldiers were harmed in the skirmish.
Chaos and disorder have broken out at the airport since the Taliban took power on August 15.
Numerous people have been killed as thousands of Afghans continue to gather outside the air hub in hopes of securing a flight out of the country.
Shootings and stampedes have claimed several lives, while at least two people reportedly plunged to their deaths after trying to cling to a US military transport aircraft that was taking off from the airport.
Yesterday, Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban movement issued a warning to the United States against prolonging the withdrawal of its military beyond the declared deadline.
A senior Taliban leader, Khalil Ur-Rahman Haqqani, in an interview with Pakistan-based Geo News yesterday, called on Afghans leaving the country to stay, pointing out that it is the enemy that’s spreading propaganda that the Taliban would exact revenge on them. ‘Tajiks, Balochs, Hazaras and Pashtuns are all our brothers,’ he said.
Haqqani said that they took up arms after American forces invaded their homeland and fought against the country as well as its culture and religion.
‘The Americans were using weapons against us, on our homeland,’ he said, adding that those weapons are now in the hands of the Taliban.
In a related development yesterday, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen reacted to reports the US might extend its military presence in the country beyond the August 31 deadline.
He said the complete withdrawal of foreign forces is a ‘red line’ and warned of serious consequences if the occupation is extended.
‘It’s a red line. US President Biden announced 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.
‘The extension of the troop exit deadline will create mistrust between us. If they are intent on continuing the occupation, it will provoke a reaction.’
He further underlined that the Taliban would say ‘no’ if the US or the UK ‘seek additional time to continue evacuations’.
During a Group of Seven G7 countries meeting today (Tuesday) to discuss the Afghanistan crisis, Tory PM Johnson will push Biden to delay the withdrawal of US forces.
UK ministers have been pressing the US privately for days to consider postponing the troop pullout in order to ease pressure on Kabul airport.
Johnson believes the G7, which includes the United States, Italy, France, Germany, Japan and Canada, should push economic sanctions and withhold aid if the Taliban allows the country to ‘foster militants’ or ‘violates civilians’ human rights’.
Last week Johnson acknowledged in Parliament that Britain could not have stayed in Afghanistan ‘without American might’.