In a statement issued on the 25th anniversary of the final Soviet
withdrawal from Afghanistan, a national holiday for Afghans, the
Taliban sought to connect the steady departure of U.S. and NATO
troops ahead of a year-end deadline to the end of the decade-long
"Today America is facing the same fate as the former Soviets and
trying to escape from our country," the Taliban said in a statement
emailed to reporters by Qari Yousef Ahmadi, a spokesman for the
"The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is calling on its people to deal
with today's invaders the same they did with the yesterday's
invaders," he said, using the name the Taliban government used
during its repressive 1996-2001 rule.
In line with the so-called Geneva accords, a last convoy of Soviet
soldiers crossed a bridge connecting northern Afghanistan with the
then-Soviet Union on February 15, 1989.
"We want to remind the Americans that we did not accept invaders
with their sweet and nice slogans in the past. We eliminated them
from the world map. God willing, your destiny will be the same," the
While U.S. and NATO forces in recent years have pushed Taliban
militants out of many areas of their southern homeland, they appear
to be dug in across remote areas along the rugged
Afghanistan-Pakistan border and insurgent violence continues.
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The United Nations said last week that civilian deaths rose in 2013
as fighting intensifies between Taliban militants and government
forces that are taking over from foreign troops.
Uncertainty about whether a modest force of foreign troops will stay
beyond a year-end deadline continues due to Afghan President Hamid
Karzai's refusal to sign a security deal with the United States that
would permit some troops to stay.
(Reporting by Mirwais Harooni; writing by Missy Ryan;
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