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KABUL — The Afghan Taliban marked the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States with a statement claiming their victory over American "occupiers" was imminent.
American troops — due to withdraw from the country completely in 2016 — will leave the country "ashamed and humiliated," read the statement, sent to reporters on Friday. The Taliban intensified its attacks after the U.S. formally ended its combat mission at the end of 2014, and has captured territory across the country.
"History has proven that we are a free nation and have never accepted subjugation and submission to foreigners," according to the statement issued by a faction led by Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor, who was unveiled as leader in July. "Soon we will defeat the American led occupiers," it said.
The jihad, or holy war, was supported by "all" Afghans, which gave the group "strength to continue on the right oath of freedom and is a continuation of the path chosen by our forefathers who defeated British and Soviet occupiers," the statement added, referring to past Afghan military victories.
The statement did not address the fact that it was a U.S.-led international coalition, along with local forces, that toppled the Taliban which had sheltered Osama bin Laden as he plotted the 9/11 attacks. Before the invasion, U.S. officials repeatedly called on the Taliban to turn him over but were refused.
"Fourteen years ago the American invaders launched illegal attacks on our country under the pretext of the Sept. 11 incident to invade our Islamic country and threatening the region," the statement added.