Taliban Prime Minister of Afghanistan delivers first speech to nation

The Afghan Taliban Prime Minister gave his first public speech since the Islamist group took power more than three months ago, saying the government wants good relations with other countries and will solve economic problems.

Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, a co-founder of the Taliban, covered a range of issues in the November 27 audio address to the nation broadcast on state television.

“We assure all countries that we will not interfere in their internal affairs and we want to have good economic relations with them,” Akhund said in a 30-minute speech.

The Taliban seized power after taking Kabul in mid-August as US-led international forces withdrew from the country after a 20-year war. Akhund said the Taliban kept their promises to fight foreign forces until an Islamic government was established.

But since overthrowing the previous government, the Taliban have struggled to turn a guerrilla movement into a functioning administration.

The country went through a major financial crisis with soaring inflation, unemployment and a plummeting currency that left the already fragile economy in shambles.

The war-torn country’s economic woes have been exacerbated by Washington’s freezing of around $ 10 billion of Afghan Central Bank reserves parked in the United States, leaving the new rulers in Kabul with limited funds. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have also cut off Afghanistan’s access to finance.

Foreign donors provided about 75 percent of the budget to the previous Western-backed government. Even then, the country suffered from a humanitarian crisis due to conflict, severe drought and poor governance.

United Nations aid agencies have warned of a major humanitarian crisis, with more than half of the country’s 38 million people expected to go hungry this winter.

“We are drowned in our problems and we are trying to gain the strength to lift our people out of miseries and difficulties with the help of God,” Akhund said.

“We call on all international charities not to withhold their aid and to help our exhausted nation (…) so that the people’s problems can be resolved,” he added.

The Taliban prime minister said the country’s economic crisis would be resolved if the United States released the reserves of the Afghan central bank.

He added that Afghans should not believe that the Taliban are to blame for the country’s problems, which he says are the result of the previous corrupt government.

No country has recognized the new Taliban government. Western countries are looking for ways to engage the Taliban and remedy the country’s dire humanitarian situation, but want to avoid direct support for the new government.

The United States and its allies condition recognition of the Taliban on the formation of an inclusive government and respect for human rights, including those of minorities, women and girls. Other conditions include that the Taliban do not allow the country to become a base for international terrorism and allow foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the country to do so.

Under the Taliban, most girls in grades 7 to 12 are not allowed to go to school, and most women in the public service are not allowed to work.

“Girls’ education has resumed to a large extent and there is hope that education will be further facilitated,” Akhund said, indicating that any policy towards women would be guided by the group’s interpretation of the principles. Islamic.

Akhund claimed his government was inclusive. However, the current all-male government is made up of Taliban members and their allies, while 90 percent of those in power are from the Pashtun ethnic group.

With reports from AFP, AP and dpa


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