Taliban promises ‘safe environment’ for diplomats, aid workers in Afghanistan

The Taliban on Tuesday pledged to provide a “safe environment” to foreign diplomats, after Australia announced it would shutter its embassy over security concerns.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan assures all foreign diplomats and staff of humanitarian organizations that (we) will not pose any threats to them,” Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem told AFP.

“We will provide a safe environment for their activities.”

The United States has formally begun withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan, opening the final chapter in America’s longest-ever war, but heralding an uncertain future for a nation in the tightening grip of the Taliban.

The elected government in Kabul and Afghan security services remain weak despite two decades of foreign capacity building, and their success is far from clear without full-scale US support.

Most US troops are expected to leave by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the al-Qaeda attacks that sparked the US-led invasion of the country.

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