KABUL: The Taliban on Wednesday warned of consequences if the US did not stop flying drones over Afghan airspace.
“The US has violated all international rights and laws as well as its commitments made to the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, with the operation of these drones in Afghanistan,” the Taliban said in a statement on Twitter. “We call on all countries, especially United States, to treat Afghanistan in light of international rights, laws and commitments … in order to prevent any negative consequences.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-
The Taliban swept back into power in Afghanistan last month after most US and other Western troops left, ending a military and diplomatic mission that began soon after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US.
Since then, the US has carried out two drone strikes in Afghanistan, claiming to have targeted an Islamic State (IS) militant of the group’s Khorasan chapter who was involved in the planning of a deadly attack at the Kabul airport and a suicide bomber in a vehicle aiming to hit the airport again.
The strikes were carried out within a day’s gap and civilians, including children, were killed in the second attack.
While the US had not confirmed civilian deaths immediately, the Pentagon had later admitted that 10 civilians, including seven children, were killed in the strike. The US military had apologised for the incident, terming it a tragic mistake.
The strikes had also drawn a strong reaction from Afghanistan’s new rulers, the Taliban.
At the time, Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid had condemned the US for failing to inform the Taliban before ordering the strike and described the US action on foreign soil as unlawful.
“If there was any potential threat in Afghanistan, it should have been reported to us, not an arbitrary attack that has resulted in civilian casualties,” Mujahid had told China’s state television CGTN.
Taliban leaders also deny that Islamic State (IS) and Al Qaeda militants are active in the country, although the IS recently claimed responsibility for bomb attacks in the eastern city of Jalalabad.
The Taliban are under pressure from the international community to renounce ties with Al Qaeda, the group behind the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington.