A spokesman for the Taliban on Monday suggested impostors are behind reports of door-to-door raids in Afghanistan as militants are said to be hunting for U.S. military allies still residing in the country.
Earlier in the day, it was revealed the Taliban were seeking "those who had worked with" or "had fought alongside the Americans," while "terrified" residents scrambled to destroy any proof of association, according to Fox News's Jennifer Griffin. Similarly, Afghan ambassador to the United Nations Ghulam Isaczai on Monday said the violent group was engaging in "targeted killings" after indicating he saw "gruesome images" of "mass executions."
“If someone goes from door to door and they are posing as Taliban, they are not Taliban," Shail Shaheen, an English-speaking Taliban spokesman, said on a segment of MSNBC.
“We have a clear policy," he added. "The policy is that no one can enter anyone’s house, property. Honor and life of the people are protected.”
Shaheen said reports of targeted killings are "baseless."
“These allegations are totally baseless, totally wrong,” he said, adding the claims are “propaganda” being “used to mislead the world against us.”
The Taliban have seized control of Afghanistan's capital city Kabul, and frantic residents were seen flooding the airport in droves to flee the area. When Shaheen was asked whether the Taliban would pursue those with ties to the United States, he said the armed occupants would not be a "risk" to them.
“We will not punish them, and we will not pose any risk to them, to their property, and to their life," he said. "Anyone who wants to go to the West and to other European countries, they are welcome.”
The U.S. has since upped its troop presence to 7,000 soldiers, consisting of Marine battalions and members of the Army's 82nd Airborne, the country's crisis response force. Soldiers are primarily tasked with helping to facilitate the hasty exit of U.S. Embassy diplomats and recipients of the SIV program, short for Special Immigrant Visas for Afghans, which grants asylum to residents of the country who worked for the U.S. government in some capacity.
As many as 30,000 refugees are expected to be housed in Fort Bliss in Texas and Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, among other military installations.
Shaheen vowed not to attack U.S. personnel, saying, “We have commitment that there will be no attack on the Americans."
Before his appearance on MSNBC, the Taliban leader called in to BBC — a shock to the news station. His remarks were similar, and he insisted no "revenge" would be carried out, despite several reports to the contrary.
"There should not be any confusion. We are sure the people of Afghanistan in the city of Kabul that their properties and their lives are safe," he said. "There will be no revenge on anyone. We are the servants of the people and of this country."
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Original Author: Jake Dima