Taliban urge US to leave Afghanistan or face Soviet-style defeat

Updated December 28, 2018

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In a taunting message sent on the 39th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Taliban said US forces faced “humiliation” and could “learn a great deal” from the experience of their Cold War foe. — File photo
In a taunting message sent on the 39th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Taliban said US forces faced “humiliation” and could “learn a great deal” from the experience of their Cold War foe. — File photo

KABUL: The Taliban warned the United States on Thursday it would face the same fate as the Soviet Union in the 1980s if it did not leave Afghanistan, as Washington considers slashing troop numbers.

In a taunting message sent on the 39th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of the war-torn country, the Taliban said US forces faced “humiliation” and could “learn a great deal” from the experience of their Cold War foe.

The Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan in 1989, ending a decade-long occupation and precipitating a bloody civil war and the emergence of the Taliban.

“Take heed from the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan and abandon thoughts of testing the mettle of the already proven Afghans,” Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement in English, Dari and Pashto.

Mujahid said any future relations between the Taliban and the United States should be based on “sound diplomatic and economic principles” rather than conflict.

The Taliban have not formally responded to the news that Trump had decided to withdraw roughly half of the 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan.

But a senior commander said that the group was “more than happy”. The Taliban have long insisted on the withdrawal of foreign troops as a condition for engaging in peace talks.

Published in Dawn, December 28th, 2018