The Taliban have appealed to the international community to recognise it amid growing resentment against it at home and abroad, even as the Afghan militant group sought to placate China, saying Beijing can play a ‘big role’ under its rule in the strife-torn country.
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said the international community should “respect the will of the Afghan people” and officially recognise his group which has taken over power in Kabul.
Dismissing growing concerns over the Taliban curbing the freedoms of women under its plans to impose Sharia law like it did during its previous rule 20 years ago, Shaheen told China’s state-run CGTN TV that the new Taliban government in Kabul would protect women’s rights to education and work.
He also urged international monetary organisations to release funds to the new government.
The Taliban, which shared close ties with Pakistan, have been warming up to Beijing ahead of its recent offensive resulting in seizing power in Kabul.
“China is a big country with a huge economy and capacity. They can play a big role in rebuilding, reconstruction of Afghanistan,” Shaheen said.
“We have had a relationship with China and Russia during the past years. We have told them they should not have any concern from Afghanistan,” he said.
“We see it in our interest not to allow anyone to use our soil against our neighbouring and regional countries. It is important for us,” he said, amid increasing scepticism, especially among women who faced subjugation under Taliban’s previous rule 20 years ago with its efforts to impose strict Sharia law.
“Also for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, we need the help of all countries,” including neighbouring as well as regional, the US and the rest of the world, Shaheen said.
A Taliban delegation, headed by the head of its Political Commission Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, which visited China last month during its talks with the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had promised not to permit the Uygur Muslim militant group from Xinjiang the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) to operate from Afghanistan.
China is concerned as according to a recent UN report, hundreds of militants belonging to the ETIM are converging in Afghanistan amidst the military advances made by the Taliban.
After Taliban seized power in the last few days, China has been striking what observers called a nuanced stand, calling on the group to shun terrorism and form an inclusive Islamic government with all parties and ethnic groups.
The Taliban are currently in talks with former President Hameed Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, who headed the High Council for National Reconciliation, to form what it calls an inclusive government.
Questioned about the desperation of thousands of Afghans to escape its rule, leading to scenes of chaos at Kabul’s airport, Shaheen said that many had been misled by rumours suggesting they would be able to settle in the UK or US if they boarded a flight.
The Taliban’s advance across Afghanistan represented a “popular uprising against an imposed administration,” he said.
The speed of the group’s advance across the entire country legitimises its takeover of the national government, Shaheen said.
“It is not an election, but it shows the support of the people,” Shaheen said in response to questions on the justification for the group’s claims to represent the will of Afghans.
He said an election was a question for the future but he “would not rule out” a poll.
He reiterated the Taliban would permit women to continue their education and pledged not to persecute those who had worked with foreign powers.
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