Saleh accuses US of legitimizing Taliban which he says are ‘terrorists’

Afghanistan’s First Vice President Amrullah Saleh said on Monday that the American government had “legitimized” the Taliban and that now Afghans need the United States “to remain engaged”.

Amid the withdrawal process of all foreign troops, Saleh said in an interview with CBS News, that it is his responsibility on a daily basis to “outline the risks and the threats and put them in front of ourselves,” adding that he also looks at what can be done with Afghan resources, and with whatever the United States will leave behind.

“The days of counting on those types of extraordinary assets and resources, over-the-horizon air assets … is over. And we are not — we are not telling the United States don’t end it. 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,” he said.

Saleh stated that the US “absolutely” legitimized the Taliban and that he does not trust the group.

“The United States legitimized them. The [Taliban’s] Doha office is a creation of the United States. Getting Mullah Baradar out of the [Pakistan] 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, the Doha agreement [signed in February last year] is between the United States and the Taliban.

“They should be held accountable. 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,” he said.

“You know, as I said, what you see as a change in Afghanistan is largely, largely due to investment of the United States here.”