“This is the difference between us and the Taliban,” Saleh told Fox Nation host Lara Logan. “We believe that God is the creator of all and everybody, and unfortunately the Taliban believe that God looks at them through one prism which is shiny and bright.”
The Islamic extremist group believes God is happy with the Taliban, but “looks at everybody else through a very dark window” and is “very angry with everybody else … and God tells the Taliban, ‘Keep killing people, the more you kill, the wider the gates of the heaven will be open for you,’” Saleh said.
Saleh has remained in Afghanistan after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled Kabul as the Taliban took over the capital. He said on Twitter on Aug. 17 that he has remained to fulfill his duty as the “caretaker president” as outlined in the country’s constitution, adopted in 2004.
“Nations must respect the rule of law, not violence,” he posted to Twitter on Aug. 19. “Afghanistan is too big for Pakistan to swallow and too big for Talibs to govern. Don’t let your histories have a chapter on humiliation and bowing to terror groups,” he wrote in a post seemingly directed at Afghanistan’s various tribal leaders.
He has since vowed to resist the Taliban from the Panjshir valley, together with Ahmad Shah Massoud, the son of a former anti-Soviet mujahedeen commander.
Remnants of Afghan government forces and other militia groups have gathered in the Panjshir valley, including Defense Minister General Bismillah Mohammadi, declaring the valley the last free citadel in Afghanistan.
Massoud said America and its democratic allies were a free Afghanistan’s “only remaining hope” in an op-ed published in The Washington Post on Aug. 18. “There is still much that you can do to aid the cause of freedom,” he wrote. “[W]e need more weapons, more ammunition, and more supplies.”
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai and peace council chief Abdullah Abdullah also remain in the country. They have been negotiating with the Taliban in Kabul since Ghani’s flight out.
Saleh also told host Lara Logan that the Taliban is not to be trusted. There are few differences ideologically between ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban, he said.
“Ideologically, the difference between ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban is the difference between the taste of Coke and Pepsi,” he said. “If you remove the labels, can you say which one is Coke and which one is Pepsi?”
The Taliban “believe that they can conquer,” and “believe that their jihadist literature will prevail,” he added.
As the Biden administration mulls potentially extending the U.S. president’s self-imposed Aug. 31 deadline to withdraw the remaining troops from Afghanistan, a spokesperson for the terrorist group warned early on Monday that there will be consequences for doing so.
Since Aug. 14, the military has evacuated 28,000 people from Kabul, the president said on Sunday.
“Our hope is we will not have to extend, but there are going to be discussions, I suspect, on how far along we are in the process,” Biden said.
Melanie Sun contributed to this report.