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Taliban Says 'War and Destruction' Will Continue If Any US Troops Remain in Afghanistan Beyond 2014

- Andrea Germanos, staff writer

As US military mulls how many thousands of troops will remain in Afghanistan after the 2014 "withdrawal" date, the Taliban issued a statement on Saturday saying that leaving even a single US soldier "means war and destruction" because conflict "in the region is directly related to the American presence in Afghanistan."

A NATO soldier walks at the site of an explosion in Kabul, December 17, 2012. (Photo: Omar Sobhani/Reuters) "If America wants peace in Afghanistan and the region as well as a way out for its people from this ongoing quagmire then it should immediately remove all its troops from Afghanistan and practically put an end to this futile war," the militant group stated.

"The reason behind all this turmoil and anarchy in the region is directly related to the American presence in Afghanistan. Therefore 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 and it shall only be America that shall suffer the most."

"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 due to igniting and intensifying the flames of prolonged war for the Afghan nation."

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is set to meet with President Obama next week to "discuss a shared vision of Afghanistan beyond 2014," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has stated.