Seeking 'Good Relations' With All Countries, Taliban Appears Ready to Sink Feud With US
11:36 GMT 13.12.2021 (Updated: 13:27 GMT 06.08.2022)
Shortly after the Taliban* seized power in Afghanistan in mid-August, it established an interim government that has not been recognised by a majority of nations. Additionally, the Afghan Central Bank's assets were frozen by the US, and financial aid from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund was suspended.
The Taliban government in Afghanistan seeks to have good relations with all nations, and has "no issues" with the United States, Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi told the Associated Press
in an interview.
According to Muttaqi, the Taliban has changed since its previous stretch in power (from 1996 to 2001), and is ready to make changes that will both benefit the nation and encourage the US and other countries to "slowly change its policy towards Afghanistan".
"You are a great and big nation and you must have enough patience and have a big heart to dare to make policies on Afghanistan based on international rules and relegation, and to end the differences and make the distance between us shorter and choose good relations with Afghanistan", Muttaqi said, referring to the United States.
He also urged the US, along with other nations, to unfreeze the $10 billion in Afghan funds, saying that "sanctions against Afghanistan would [...] not have any benefit".
Earlier in the week, donors to the World Bank agreed to transfer $280 million
from the frozen Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) to several humanitarian programmes to offer vital support for the Central Asian nation. The World Bank also pledged to continue working in order to unlock additional funds to help the Afghan people.
In a bid to make up for the extremes of the Taliban's previous period in power, the group is ready to introduce more reforms, as it has "made progress" since its last time in charge, according to Muttaqi.
The diplomacy chief pointed at how girls and women in Afghanistan are now allowed to attend school through to Grade 12 in 10 of the country's 34 provinces, and all women previously engaged in the health sector are back on the job.
The foreign minister insisted that these developments show the Taliban is "committed in principle to women's participation".
The Taliban does not rule out the possibility of women participating in the government. In early December, the group introduced a decree on women's rights acknowledging that women are not property and cannot be forced into marriage.
Asife from this, the foreign minister noted the general amnesty the militants offered their opponents instead of targeting them. Although the majority of the previous US-backed Afghan government have fled the country, Muttaqi asserted that some now peacefully reside in the capital Kabul.
Some former Afghan interpreters who used to work with the US or other Western countries, however, claim that they still do not feel safe in the country despite the Taliban's declared amnesty.
One of these people, who wished to only be identified by his first name Faridon, earlier shared his story with Sputnik. According to him, the amnesty declaration is "just a promise", as the Taliban is "still raiding people's homes and killing Afghan nationals who did such work [interpretation, helping US military, etc.] every day".
11 December 2021, 09:44 GMT
The Taliban's foreign minister also addressed some chaotic episodes of the Western withdrawal from Afghanistan - particularly the notorious scene of people chasing a departing American plane, with several individuals falling to the ground when it took off. He said it was not fear of the militants that drove those people but rather poverty and dreams of a better life in America.
Muttaqi also said that the Taliban had kept its promise to deny a safe haven to Daesh** and al-Qaeda** terrorists, debunking claims by the US top military commander in the Middle East, Gen. Frank McKenzie, that since late August the al-Qaeda has grown slightly in the country.
"Unfortunately, there are (always) allegation[s] against the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, but there is no proof", Muttaqi stated. "If McKenzie has any proof, he should provide it. With confidence, I can say that this is a baseless allegation".
*The Taliban is an organisation under UN sanctions over terrorist activities.
**Daesh is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other countries.
**Al-Qaeda is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other countries.