Taliban and China Condemn US Unmanned Aerial Operation in Afghan Territory

The Taliban and China on Wednesday (29/9) called for the United States (US) to stop flying drones in Afghan airspace, saying such actions violate Afghanistan’s sovereignty and previously reached mutual agreements.

“We recently witnessed the US violating all rights and international law and commitments it made to the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, when Afghan airspace was invaded by US drones,” the Taliban said in a statement.

The Islamist group referred to an agreement with Washington reached in February last year which paved the way for US and NATO forces to leave the country.

The troop withdrawal process ended in August, marking the end of nearly 20 years of international troop involvement in the Afghan war.

“We call on all countries, especially the US, to treat Afghanistan in accordance with its rights, international law and commitments… in order to prevent negative consequences,” the Taliban said without elaborating.

There has been no comment from US officials on this matter. The warning appeared to have been issued in response to several comments by the Pentagon, the US defense department, which said Washington had “all necessary authority to conduct counter-terrorism operations by air” on Afghan soil.

“We remain confident in our capabilities as we move forward,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Friday.

China, on Wednesday (29/9), also voiced its opposition to US drone operations in Afghan airspace.

“The United States must sincerely respect Afghanistan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chun-ying told a news conference in Beijing.

“More importantly, the United States must break the habit of imposing arbitrary military intervention and forcing its will on others, and avoid repeating tragedies that plunge people into misery and suffering,” he added. (jm/my)

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