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Taliban ask world for recognition, reopen their embassies in Kabul

KABUL: The Taliban on Monday called for recognition of Afghanistan, saying the country “has the right” to be recognised while urging the international community to reopen their embassies in Kabul.

“The war has ended, the country is getting out of the crisis. It is now time for peace and reconstruction. We need the people to support us,” spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told a press conference in Kabul.

Addressing journalists at the press conference, Mujahid stressed that “Afghanistan has the right to be recognised”.

“The international community should open their embassies in Kabul,” he said.

Afghan people are gathered at a mosque in Kabul and offering prayer

The Taliban spokesman also called upon military personnel who served under the previous regime to join the new force. “The Afghan forces who were trained in the past 20 years will be asked to rejoin the security departments alongside Taliban members.”

He said that any insurgency against their rule would be “hit hard”, after earlier saying they had captured the Panjshir Valley — the last pocket of resistance.

“The Islamic Emirate is very sensitive about insurgencies. Anyone who tries to start an insurgency will be hit hard. We will not allow another,” Mujahid said.

“Anyone who picks up arms and starts another resistance, without any doubts, will be our enemy.

Three weeks after seizing power but with no government so far announced, the spokesman said an “interim” system would first be announced to allow for changes.

“Final decisions have been taken, we are now working on the technical issues,” he said.

“We will announce the new government as soon as the technical issues are resolved.” A key issue for the Taliban is the reopening of the airport in Kabul, which was the scene of a massive US-led evacuation plan that ended last week.

Qatar has been working with the Taliban on getting the airport back up and running and, Mujahid said, “serious efforts” were underway to restore operations.

Taliban’s senior spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid

“Technical teams from Qatar, Turkey and UAE are working hard to repair the equipment,” he said, adding international flights would resume “soon”.

Taliban say they took last holdout Afghan province of Panjshir

The Taliban said on Monday they have taken control of Panjshir province north of Kabul, the last holdout of anti-Taliban forces in the country and the only province the Taliban had not seized during their blitz across Afghanistan last month.

Thousands of Taliban fighters overran eight districts of Panjshir overnight, according to witnesses from the area who spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing for their safety. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid issued a statement on Monday, saying Panjshir was now under the control of Taliban fighters.

In his statement, Mujahid sought to assure residents of Panjshir that they would be safe — even as scores of families reportedly fled into the mountains ahead of the Taliban’s arrival.

“We give full confidence to the honourable people of Panjshir that they will not be subjected to any discrimination, that all are our brothers, and that we will serve a country and a common goal,” Mujahid said in his statement.

Taliban Spokesman Suhail Shaheen

“We tried our best to solve the problem through negotiations, and they rejected talks and then we had to send our forces to fight,” Mujahid later told a press conference in Kabul.

“There is no need for any more fighting,” Mujahid said at the press conference. “All Panjshir people and those who live in Panjshir are our brothers and they are part of our country.”

The anti-Taliban forces had been led by the former vice president, Amrullah Saleh, and also the son of the iconic anti-Taliban fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud who was killed just days before the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

UN promises aid

Afghan Taliban say UN promises aid after meeting with officials in Kabul

Senior Taliban officials met in Kabul on Sunday with the UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, who promised to maintain assistance for the Afghan people, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, head of the Taliban’s political office and other officials met Martin Griffiths as Afghanistan faces a potentially catastrophic humanitarian crisis caused by severe drought and a collapsing economy.

“The UN delegation promised continuation of humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people, saying he would call for further assistance to Afghanistan during the coming meeting of donor countries,” Shaheen said on Twitter.

Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world, has been plunged into crisis by the abrupt end of billions of dollars in foreign aid following the collapse of the Western-backed government and the victory of the Taliban last month.

Shaheen said the Taliban assured the UN delegation of “cooperation and provision of needed facilities”.

The United Nations is expected to convene an international aid conference in Geneva on September 13 to help avert what UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called a “looming humanitarian catastrophe”.