Taliban say they are no threat to West but are braced for long war at home

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan issued an announcement claiming "they have no agenda to harm other countries" while the debate on the future of the United States' Afghan strategy continues in Washington.


AFP - The Taliban pledged Wednesday they do not pose a threat to the United States, in a statement marking the eight-year anniversary of military action in Afghanistan to oust their regime.

The announcement issued by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan said their aim was "obtainment of independence and establishment of an Islamic system" in the country and not to attack the West, according to the US-based SITE monitoring group.

"We did not have any agenda to harm other countries, including Europe, nor we have such agenda today," said the Taliban in a posting online.

The US-led operations in Afghanistan kicked off in the wake of devastating attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, in a bid to rout militant group Al-Qaeda, accused of launching the attacks, and the Taliban government, which gave Al-Qaeda safe-haven.

However, the Taliban stressed in their statement Wednesday: "Afghans were not involved in the event of New York."

Eight years since military action began, US forces are continuing a fierce battle with the insurgents, mainly in the country's rural west.

And while debate continues in Washington about troop reinforcements to loosen the militant's hold on large swaths of the country, the Taliban promised they were prepared for a long fight.

"If you want to turn the country of the proud and pious Afghans into a colony, then know that we have an unwavering determination and have braced for a prolonged war," the insurgents said.

With 2009 being the deadliest for the 100,000-strong US and NATO presence in Afghanistan so far, US President Barack Obama is reviewing a request for 40,000 extra US troops amid warnings the war could be lost within a year without them.

Alluding to past examples of Afghanistan repelling foreign armies, the Taliban statement said Afghans are "characterized by historical distinction of always sacrificing in the way of their religion and country."

"Have a glance at history," the insurgents said. "Today, we will not fall short of this."

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