Taliban Singles Out Sen. Lindsey Graham Over Comment on U.S. Bases in Afghanistan

FILE: Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

FILE: Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.  (AP)

A U.S. senator who suggested placing permanent bases in Afghanistan has caught the eye of the Taliban, which issued a statement this week saying South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham has proven the U.S. is trying to colonize the Near East nation.

"The Taliban Voice of Jihad Online" is described by the U.S. intelligence community's Open Source Center as an anti-Western, anti-Afghan organization representing the interests of Taliban leader Mullah Omar under the umbrella The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

In a statement issued Tuesday demonstrating its increasing sophistication, the group responded to comments made by Graham during an appearance Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." 

Graham said putting U.S. air bases in Afghanistan -- on Afghan request -- would be "enormously beneficial to the region."

"We have had air bases all over the world. A couple of air bases in Afghanistan would allow the Afghan security forces an edge against the Taliban in perpetuity. It would be a signal to Pakistan, the Taliban are never going to come back in Afghanistan that it could change their behavior," he said. "It would be a signal to the whole region that Afghanistan is going to be a new and different place."

In a strongly worded, propaganda-style statement in which it called out Graham by name, the Taliban group responded that the senator's remarks "reveal the colonialist intentions of America" under the guise of a War on Terror.

"Such remarks by a well-known official of invading America clearly shows that the war on terrorism has been a drama, produced by Washington," the Voice of Jihad said of Graham's comments.

The Taliban Voice of Jihad Online also claimed the U.S. wants to "loot" the nation of its raw materials in order to capitalize on the shift in industrial development from Western nations to Asia and called attacks on Afghan civilian sites like markets and mosques "conspiracies by the invading America."

"They only carry out raids on people's homes like thieves during the night and martyr innocent Afghans," the statement says in a plea for cash and moral support from sympathizers.

The U.S. military and NATO allies "have lost the ability to confront the mujahedeen in broad daylight," it added. 

Graham, who recently visited the country, responded that the terror group is grasping at straws as the Afghan people realize they are better off than under "Taliban domination" and can work with the U.S. 

"The overwhelming majority of Afghans have no desire to return to Taliban control. Taliban control represented one of the darkest periods in Afghan history," Graham told Fox News. "It is my desire to have an enduring relationship with the Afghan people that would be mutually beneficial to both countries."