New Taliban leader tells US to end Afghan ‘occupation’

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New Taliban leader Haibatul­lah Akhundzada on Saturday called on the US to end its “occu­pation” of Afghanistan in his first message since being appointed the militant group’s chief in May.

“Admit the realities instead of useless use of force and muscle… and put an end to the occupation,” Akhundzada said in a speech on the eve of Eid-al-Fitr, the Muslim festival marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

“Our message to the Ameri­can invaders and her allies is this: the Afghan Muslim people neither fear… your force nor your stratagem. They consider martyr­dom in confrontation with you as a cherished goal of their life,” Ak­hundzada added.

“You are facing… not a group or faction but a nation. You are not go­ing to be a winner (if Allah willing).”

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