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Kabul (AFP) – Taliban militants fighting U.S. troops in Afghanistan taunted Washington over the government shutdown on Wednesday, accusing U.S. politicians of “sucking the blood of their own people.”

The Islamist militants issued a statement describing how U.S. institutions were “paralyzed,” the Statue of Liberty was closed and a fall in tourist numbers had hit shops, restaurants and hotels in the capital.

“The American people should realize that their politicians play with their destinies as well as the destinies of other oppressed nations for the sake of their personal vested interests,” the Taliban said.

The insurgents accused “selfish and empty-minded American leaders” of taking U.S. citizens’ money “earned with great difficulty” and then “lavishly spending the same money in shedding the blood of the innocent and oppressed people.”

“Instead of sucking the blood of their own people… this money should be utilized for the sake of peace,” they added.

The U.S. embassy in Kabul has said that it expects “to function normally in the short term” due to the shutdown, though its Twitter feed would not be regularly updated.

Embassy press staff were not immediately available to comment on the rebels’ statement.

The Taliban, who were ousted from power in a U.S.-backed offensive in 2001, often use their website to issue colorful verbal attacks on Washington and the Kabul government.

About 57,000 U.S. troops are deployed in Afghanistan, with most of them set to pull out by the end of the next year.

The U.S. shutdown has seen hundreds of thousands of workers sent home without pay after Congress failed to pass a budget for the 2014 fiscal year that began October 1.

Sean O'Keefe

Photo Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Almost 500 national security experts — including 22 four-star military officers — slammed Donald Trump in a public letter released Thursday, calling him unfit for his role as commander in chief and endorsing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

The letter, simply addressed "To Our Fellow Citizens," is a bipartisan effort signed by prominent Republicans and Democrats alike who say they "fear" for their country under Trump. Signatories include former Navy Secretary and NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe, who served in both Bush administrations, and former Defense Secretaries Chuck Hagel, Leon Panetta, and Ash Carter.

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