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Afghan Taliban say expect foreign evacuations to end by deadline

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By Reuters
Afghan Taliban say expect foreign evacuations to end by deadline
Afghan Taliban say expect foreign evacuations to end by deadline   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021

– The Taliban expect foreign evacuations from Kabul to be completed by the end of the month, the Islamist group’s main spokesman said on Tuesday, urging Afghans to stay to help rebuild their country.

In a press conference that continued the conciliatory messaging put out by the movement since its lightning seizure of Kabul on Aug. 15, Zabihullah Mujahid said the focus was on clearing up and improving security.

He said the movement had not agreed to an extension of the Aug. 31 deadline set by the United States to pull out of Afghanistan and wanted all evacuations to end by that date.

He said crowds thronging outside the airport could go home and their security would be guaranteed and he called on the United States not to encourage trained Afghans to leave their country.

“We need their expertise,” he said, adding that once security was re-established, women would be able to return to work as normal.

He also denied reports that Taliban patrols were conducting house to house searches to find targets for reprisals, saying: “We have forgotten everything in the past.”

Mujahid repeated that the Taliban wanted good diplomatic relations with other countries and wanted foreign embassies to remain open.

He also said the movement wanted dialogue to resolve the situation in the province of Panjshir, where forces loyal to Ahmad Massoud, son of the former anti-Soviet commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, had gathered.