Saleh on CBS Says US ‘Legitimized’ Taliban, Must ‘Remain Engaged’


On the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Saleh told CBS News: “They have taken a decision, and we respect that decision.” 


Afghanistan’s First Vice President Amrullah Saleh in an interview told CBS News said it was the American government that “legitimized” the Taliban in the first place, and now Afghans “need the United States to remain engaged,” even if it’s not in the same form as the last 20 years.  

“The United States legitimized them. The Doha office is a creation of the United States. Getting Mullah Baradar out of the jail is an invention of the United States. Allowing them to travel here and there is with the help of the United States. Of course, Doha agreement is between the United States and the Taliban. They should be held accountable,” Saleh said.

“At the end of the day, United States is a superpower, unless it says I’m not. It’s a superpower, and they have leverage–all over. We respect that leverage because, as a needy country, we need the United States to remain engaged– engaged diplomatically, economically, strategically. You know, as I said, what you see as a change in Afghanistan is largely, largely due to investment of the United States here,” he said.

On the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Saleh told CBS: “They have taken a decision, and we respect that decision. I’m sure they have calculated the risks. But if you ask me to remind them what is the risk, Taliban are terrorists.”

The US military planners are looking for options to base forces and equipment in Central Asia and the Middle East after American and allied troops leave Afghanistan in the coming months, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The report said that the US military commanders want bases for troops, drones, bombers and artillery to shore up the Afghan government, keep the Taliban insurgency in check and monitor other extremists.

Options being assessed range from nearby countries to more distant Arab Gulf emirates and navy ships at sea, US government and military officials told The Wall Street Journal.

According to some military and Biden administration officials, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan would be preferable, because they border Afghanistan and would allow for quick access. But Russia and China’s influence in the area and tensions between them and Washington complicate plans for Central Asian bases, the officials said.

“The drive to work looks like it will be a little bit longer for now,” one official said.

Last month, US President Joe Biden announced that American troops will leave Afghanistan by September 11. NATO will also exit troops from the country by the same deadline.

Saleh on CBS Says US ‘Legitimized’ Taliban, Must ‘Remain Engaged’