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Taliban say Afghan President Ashraf Ghani must be removed to achieve a peace deal

U.S. and NATO troop withdrawal is nearly complete in Afghanistan, as Taliban forces move to capture more and more territory

Updated: July 23, 2021 - 10:29am

In Afghanistan, the Taliban is insisting that there will be no peace in the region until there is a new government in Kabul and President Ashraf Ghani is removed from power.

Suhail Shaheen, a spokesperson for the Taliban, told the Associated Press that he wants "to make it clear that we do not believe in the monopoly of power because any governments who (sought) to monopolize power in Afghanistan in the past, were not successful governments."

"We do not want to repeat that same formula," he continued, adding his belief that Ghani is war monger without the legitimate right to govern. 

The U.S. and NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan is some 95% complete, and expected to be fully done by August 31st. As western troops withdraw from the region, Taliban forces have seized a significant amount of territory. Reports indicate that Taliban are imposing harsh measures on women and setting fire to schools. 

At present, the Taliban control about half of the country's 419 district centers, and though they have not yet managed to capture any of Afghanistan's 34 provincial capitals, pressure campaigns in those areas are mounting. 

Shaheen told the AP that there are no current plans to move on Kabul, but indicated that Taliban forces could head in that direction, should they choose to. 

Despite a video that emerged earlier this month of the Taliban murdering captured Afghan forces in the northern region of the country, Shaheen says they have never issued any threats against journalists, and that members of western media outlets should have nothing to fear.  

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