As the US is withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, the Pentagon is hoping to reposition forces in neighboring countries. Reacting to reports the US was considering such a move, the Taliban released a statement on Tuesday warning its neighbors against hosting US troops.
“Foreign forces are the root cause of insecurity and war in the region and the greatest tragedy is that everyone has witnessed in the last twenty years, especially our afflicted people who have suffered and continue to suffer more than anyone else,” the Taliban said in its statement. “We urge neighboring countries not to allow and grant anyone such a concession.”
The Taliban added: “As we have repeatedly assured others that our soil will not be used against the security of others, we are similarly urging others not to use their soil and airspace against our country. If such a step is taken, then the responsibility for all the misfortunes and difficulties lies upon those who commit such mistakes.”
Neighboring countries that have been floated as possible places for the US to reposition troops are Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. While it doesn’t share a border with Afghanistan, Kazakhstan is also being considered. But the US has no basing agreements with these countries, and so far, it doesn’t look like Washington is working towards any new military deals in the region.
Pakistan has ruled out the possibility that it would be used as a military base for US military operations in Afghanistan. When asked about the possibility of US troops moving to Pakistan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan had adopted a policy that allows it to become “only partners in peace” and not join any future US war. “No sir, we do not intend to allow boots on the ground and no [US] bases are being transferred to Pakistan,” he said.
According to a report from The New York Times, the US is on schedule to pull all troops out of Afghanistan by early or mid-July, well before President Biden’s September 11th deadline. The Pentagon is scrambling for ways to maintain influence and power in the country, and it will keep supporting the Afghan military financially. At this point, it’s not clear if the US will try to keep a small troop presence in the country under the guise of protecting its diplomatic mission.