Czech leader sees Taliban-led Afghanistan as terror hub

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PRAGUE: Czech President Milos Zeman said on Tuesday that he expected Afghanistan to turn into a terror hub under the Taliban leadership, criticizing NATO for its withdrawal from the conflict-plagued country.
“The Taliban will create a terrorist centre on the Afghan territory,” the outspoken leader told the Parlamentni Listy news site.
“This will lead to the renewal of terror attacks practically all over the world,” said the 76-year-old.
The Taliban would have no problems with financing because it could live off selling opium as “Afghanistan is the largest opium producer in the world”, he added.
Zeman, who under the terms of the constitution is the Czech army’s commander-in-chief, also attacked NATO for its decision to withdraw from Afghanistan.
“I already criticised the withdrawal at the NATO summit in London a year ago and now at the NATO summit in Brussels,” Zeman said.
“I was looking (Donald) Trump and (Joe) Biden in the eyes, telling them it was cowardice.
“I think that by leaving Afghanistan, the Americans have lost the prestige of a global leader and NATO itself has raised doubts about the legitimacy of its existence.”
A NATO member since 1999, the Czech Republic had its soldiers in Afghanistan until their withdrawal in June this year.
Zeman, who has a soft spot for Russia and China, said his country should now reconsider its pledge to raise spending on defence to two percent of gross domestic product, as required by NATO.
“If NATO failed here, we should reassess our spending on defence and put more stress on national defence,” said Zeman.
Zeman has repeatedly stood up against immigration from Muslim countries, and he once likened the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to Adolf Hitler.



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