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Taliban warns of ‘prolonged war’ in Afghanistan if US stays after 2014

Islamabad, Jan. 6 (ANI): The Afghan Taliban has warned of a prolonged war in Afghanistan if any foreign troops stay after the end of 2014.

The warning comes as Kabul and Washington prepare to discuss the “residual” US security presence in the country.

President Barack Obama and President Hamid Karzai are due to hold talks in the US next week on a long-term security pact between the two countries, with US troops remaining in Afghanistan at the top of the agenda, the Express Tribune reports.

In a statement, Taliban said that if America wants to leave a small or large number of its troops for whatever length of time then it means war and destruction will continue in the region for that same length.

Taliban said that if Karzai and the Kabul regime agree with the presence of even a single American soldier then, just as presently, they shall also be responsible for all future hostilities, casualties and destruction, the report said.

According to the report, the latest media reports suggest the US Department of Defense has prepared plans that leave either 3,000, 6,000 or 9,000 troops in the country, focused on striking at al Qaeda militants.

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said the slimmed-down force would focus on preventing al Qaeda from regaining a foothold in the war-shattered nation, the report said.

Troops would also continue training the Afghan army and police, who will be responsible for national security more than a decade after a US-led alliance ousted the Taliban regime, the report added. (ANI)