Taliban seek international recognition after men-only rally

The Taliban flag is seen at a market in Kabul, Afghanistan May 10, 2022. REUTERS/Ali Khara/File Photo

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KABUL, July 2 (Reuters) – A Taliban-led rally of thousands of male religious and ethnic leaders ended on Saturday with demands from foreign governments to formally recognize their administration, but showed no signs of changing the demands international events such as the opening of girls’ high schools.

Afghanistan’s economy has plunged into crisis as Western governments have withdrawn funding and strictly enforced sanctions, saying the Taliban government must change course on human rights, especially those of women.

“We call on regional and international countries, especially Islamic countries … to recognize the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan … to lift all sanctions, release funds (from the central bank) and support the development of Afghanistan “, the meeting participants said in a statement, using the group’s name for their government, which has not been officially recognized by any country.

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The reclusive leader of the group joined the three-day rally of more than 4,000 men on Friday and delivered a speech in which he congratulated participants on the Taliban’s victory and underlined the country’s independence. Read more

The Taliban backtracked on an announcement to open all schools in March, leaving many girls who had turned up in their high schools in tears and drawing criticism from Western governments.

In speeches broadcast on public television, a small number of participants mentioned the education of girls and women. Taliban deputy leader and interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani said the world had demanded inclusive government and education and those issues would take time.

But the group’s supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, who is normally based in the southern city of Kandahar and rarely appears in public, said outsiders should not give orders.

The rally’s final statement said defending the Islamic Emirate was mandatory and that the Islamic State militant group, which said it was behind several attacks in the country, was illegal.

He said he would not interfere with neighboring countries and they should not interfere in Afghanistan.

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Reporting by Mohammad Yunus Yawar, writing by Charlotte Greenfied, editing by Timothy Heritage

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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