Taliban demands US respect Afghan airspace after alleged drone incursions

Taliban demands US respect Afghan airspace after alleged drone incursions

The Taliban has demanded that the US respect Afghanistan’s sole rights over its own airspace, and called on the world’s strongest military to keep out or be prepared to face “negative consequences.”

On Wednesday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid warned of consequences if the US continues to violate Afghan airspace in a statement shared on Twitter. 

“The U.S. has violated all international rights and laws as well as its commitments made to the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, with the operation of these drones in Afghanistan,” the statement read.

The Taliban said it called on all countries, but especially the United States, to remain in accordance with international law and their commitments to Afghanistan.

The statement claims the Taliban-controlled Kabul government is the sole custodian of Afghanistan and its airspace, adding that if the US fails to recognize this, it would face negative consequences.

US officials are yet to comment on the Taliban statement.

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A US drone strike in August, just days before the military evacuation was complete, killed an aid worker and nine members of his family, including seven children. The strike was intended for ISIS-K terrorists. 

The Islamist group swept to power in Afghanistan in August as Western troops left the country following a near 20-year occupation which began shortly after Al-Qaeda’s abhorrent attacks on US citizens on September 11, 2001.

The Taliban now finds itself in conflict with Islamist terrorist groups, notably ISIS-K, which has claimed a number of deadly attacks in Afghanistan in recent weeks. In a Telegram message, ISIS-K said they had taken the lives of up to 35 Taliban fighters in Jalalabad. The Taliban has rejected that tally. 

ISIS-K also claimed responsibility for an attack at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul just 11 days after the Taliban takeover. More than 180 people were killed, including US servicemen and women, as well as dozens of Taliban gunmen.

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