KABUL - The Taliban on Sunday urged all Nato nations in Afghanistan to follow France’s lead and pull their forces from the war.

The call came in a three-page statement released just as heads of state opened the Nato summit in Chicago to talk about the future of Afghanistan. The Taliban also on Sunday took responsibility for a suicide bombing in southern Afghanistan.

“The declaration of the new president of France, Francois Hollande, that all its troops will be removed from Afghanistan at the end of this year is a decision based on realities and a reflection of the opinion of its nation,” the Taliban said in an English version of the statement posted on its website.

“We call upon all the other Nato member countries to avoid working for the political interests of American officials and answer the call of your own people by immediately removing all your troops from Afghanistan,” the insurgent group said.

It cited a recent New York Times/CBS News poll that found that 69 per cent of Americans thought the US should not be at war in Afghanistan.

“So the Nato member countries who claim to be the elected representatives of its people and consider their government the people’s government- by the people, for the people- how will they answer the call of their people in this summit?” the Taliban asked.

The Taliban also reiterated US estimates that few Qaeda fighters remain in Afghanistan.

“The American intelligence networks, including the CIA, state that members of al-Qaeda have all left Afghanistan and that there are not more than 50 left, therefore the military presence of America is not for its own security, but a long-term strategy for turning our country and the region into its colony.” American officials have given an estimate of less than 100 Qaeda members.

“They are conjuring artificial excuses to prolong the occupation of Afghanistan, are wavering in their stance and do not seem to have a clear strategy for a political solution,” the Taliban said.

“The Islamic Emirate (which is what the Taliban call themselves) considers the claims of the invaders of finding a political solution as meaningless until they come out of their fluctuating unstable state.”