Pakistan serving as Taliban's support base: Afghanistan's acting President
Afghanistan's former Vice President Amrullah Saleh slammed Pakistan for providing "service" and "aid" to the Taliban. Saleh said the terror group used Pakistan as a support base and the whole of Pakistan was at the Taliban's service. Notably, Saleh and Panjshir leader Ahmad Massoud have been putting up a resistance against the Taliban ever since the group seized power in Afghanistan on August 15.
'More US paid Pakistan for cooperation, more it supported Taliban'
In an interview with CNN-News18, Saleh said Pakistan's support to the Taliban was one of the reasons why the group succeeded in taking control of Afghanistan. He said the more the United States paid Pakistan for cooperation, the more the latter provided "services and aid to the Taliban." A nuclear state (Pakistan) sponsoring terrorism against western allies in Afghanistan was never addressed, he added.
Doha talk legitimized Taliban; US blackmailed Afghan government: Saleh
While the Doha talks legitimized the Taliban, Saleh said, the group fooled the international community by not honoring its commitments. "The purpose of Doha was to keep the international community divided, keep them hopeful about a peaceful process that did not exist," he said. The US allies also put enormous pressure on Afghanistan, threatening to halt aid if they didn't release prisoners, he said.
'Releasing prisoners meant gifting radical fighters to Taliban'
Unlike the Americans, the Afghan government had apprehensions releasing the prisoners, fearing that they would end up at the frontlines, Amrullah Saleh said. "They ended up at the frontlines. So it was not prisoners' release but gifting Taliban a division of highly radicalized fighters."
What did Saleh say on US troop withdrawal?
Talking about the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan—which set off the Taliban's rapid takeover—Saleh said the decision was a "political one, not a military or intelligence one." He said the decision was based on "wrong judgment" and the US has started to "pay the price" as the world media is writing "negative things about them." Saleh said he had warned of such consequences earlier.
'Not Taliban's win, lack of political win in Washington'
Talking about the US, Saleh said, "The US is a global power...this shows a single wrong political judgment humiliates a superpower, too." He said, "It wasn't the Taliban who won...it was the lack of political win in Washington which led to this scramble."
Scenes at Kabul airport 'tip of iceberg'
Talking about the chaos at the Kabul airport, where dozens have reportedly died as Afghans rushed to flee the Taliban's rule, Saleh said it is just the "tip of the iceberg." "The country has sunken into tragedy and terrorist groups have taken over Afghanistan." He said they will fight until the "enemy" agrees that Afghanistan should remain Afghanistan and not become "Talibanistan."
Situation under control in Panjshir: Saleh
Amid reports of a potential Taliban attack in Panjshir Valley—where Saleh and resistance leader Ahmad Massoud are gathering forces against the Taliban—Saleh said the situation is under their control in the region. "I move around with minimum security," he said.
What is happening in Afghanistan?
The Taliban took control of the Afghanistan government after the US withdrew its troops from the country with the aim to end America's two-decade-long 'War on Terror'. The Taliban advanced quickly, gaining control of several key cities and seizing the capital of Kabul by August 15. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country the same day and civilians have also been rushing to scram.