| 18 May 2024, Saturday |

Morrison Slams Taliban’s ‘Sickening’ Claim Australian Soldiers ‘Died in Vain’ in Afghanistan

Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen earlier said in an interview with 9News that the 41 Australian soldiers killed during the war in Afghanistan “died in vain… occupying our country”. The spokesperson also accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison of basing policy on “propaganda” and “fake news”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has slammed the Taliban as “sickening” after their spokesman said Australian soldiers had “died in vain” in Afghanistan. In more than a decade of operations, 41 soldiers died in Afghanistan, with many more wounded.

“It is sickening and untrue, but I’m not surprised about a dishonorable statement from the Taliban,” said Morrison in Canberra on Friday.
In more than a decade of operations, 41 soldiers died in Afghanistan, with many more wounded.

Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said in an interview with 9News that the soldiers “died in our country, occupying our country”.

“If my country’s forces go invade your country, occupy your country and they die, what would you say? Would you say they come here for something illegal? It was their right to invade your country? The same applies for my country, Afghanistan,” said Shaheen.

He also rejected claims that Australians had been attacked by the Taliban, saying, “There is no one targeting them, or their life is at risk, no!”

The Taliban spokesperson also accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison of basing his policy towards the group on “propaganda” and “fake news”.

“Some of the Australians are biased they should make their stand to be more pragmatic… I think their judgement should be fair and just not based on baseless reports,” said the Taliban spokesman.

‘World is Watching’

Weighing in on the fact that the Islamist group is now controlling Afghanistan as the US and NATO forces have exited the country 20 years after invading it in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks in the US, Scott Morrison said:

“They should know that the world is watching them and they expect them to live up to the statements they have made.”

According to the Prime Minister, the Islamist group would have to earn Australia’s trust.

“At this stage, the account is in deficit with any trust you could put in the Taliban,” he said.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne also slammed the comments by Taliban.

‘I find that repugnant… I find those sorts of statements, which are dismissive of the contribution that Australia in this case, and the international community has endeavoured to make in Afghanistan over so many years, deeply disappointing. We will ultimately judge the Taliban and the regime it establishes on their actions, not just their words. There is a requirement for them to deliver in terms of the future of Afghanistan,” said Payne on 2GB radio.

‘Stopping a Murderous Ideology’

In mid-August Prime Minister Scott Morrison lauded the fact that a generation of Taliban leadership had been “wiped out” in the US-led war on terror after the 9/11 attacks. In part, this was due to the sacrifices of 26,000 Australian soldiers who served in Afghanistan on Operation Slipper, from 2001-2014.

“It was a mission that was about stopping a murderous ideology being exported around the world,” Morrison said.

“For two decades that ideology has been contained, as have the mass casualty attacks of those times. A generation of Taliban leadership was wiped out because of that violence and time will tell if the lesson of that history has been learned,” said Morrison.

Morrison emphasized that the Australian government was committed to helping Afghans who had assisted the ADF and other agencies secure visas allowing them to relocate to Australia. He acknowledged that “support won’t reach all that it should”.

“On the ground events have overtaken many efforts. We wish it were different,” said the Australian Prime Minister.

Following the multiple terror attacks in New York and Washington on 11 September 2001, after then US President George Bush declared a “war on terror”, in October Australia joined the United States-led coalition in Afghanistan. Australian special forces were deployed southwest of Kandahar. Australia’s contribution to the war in Afghanistan has been known as Operation Slipper (2001–2014) and Operation Highroad (2015-2021), with a total of over 39,000 Australian Defense Force personnel deployed to Afghanistan. By December 2013 then-Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the last Australian troops had left Afghanistan, maintaining only a small training force rather than active combat troops.

In February the US announced that it would withdraw all American forces from the country by May.

Despite past assurances made by the Joe Biden administration that the Taliban would not take full control of Afghanistan, the militant group did just that, implementing a swift offensive and seizing the capital on 15 August.

As the Kabul government of then-President Ashraf Ghani collapsed, western nations launched a massive evacuation effort of their citizens, diplomats, and thousands of vulnerable Afghans that ended ahead of the withdrawal deadline – 31 August.

  • Sputnik