For the second time this week, the Taliban warned its neighbors against hosting US bases that would be used for operations inside Afghanistan. This time, the Taliban specifically addressed Pakistan, citing media reports that said the US would keep a presence along the Durand Line, which separates Afghanistan and Pakistan.
According to Afghanistan’s Tolo News, the media reports cited by the Taliban also said as part of the Durand Line plan, the US would keep a small troop presence at Bagram Air Base and Shindand Air Base, which are both located in Afghanistan. It’s not clear what reports the Taliban cited, and the US is reportedly already scrapping equipment from the Bagram base.
The Taliban said if this plan happens, the group “will continue their jihad.” The Taliban asked Pakistan not to facilitate the continuation of “Afghanistan’s occupation.” The group said it would be a “mistake” and a “big blunder” for Pakistan to do so.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has already ruled out the possibility that US troops leaving Afghanistan would be redeployed to Pakistan. “Let this House and the Pakistani nation be a witness to my testimony that under Prime Minister Imran Khan, there will be no American base on Pakistani soil,” Qureshi told Pakistan’s Senate on Wednesday.
Earlier this month, Qureshi made similar comments. He said Pakistan has adopted a policy that it will only be “partners in peace” with Washington and that Islamabad would not participate in any future US war effort.
On Tuesday, the Taliban released a statement warning all of its neighbors against hosting US bases. Pentagon officials have floated the idea of repositioning into Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, or Kazakhstan, but the US has no basing agreements with these countries, and it doesn’t appear that progress is being made towards and new troop deals in the region.
The US and its allies are reportedly set to complete the withdrawal from Afghanistan by early to mid-July, well before President Biden’s September 11th deadline. But the US is considering leaving troops in Afghanistan to protect its embassy in Kabul, something the Taliban would consider a violation of the Doha agreement.