Foreign Minister says regime wants good relations with U.S.
Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers are committed in principle to education and jobs for girls and women, a marked departure from their previous time in power, and they seek the world’s “mercy and compassion” to help millions of Afghans in desperate need, a top Taliban leader said in a rare interview.
Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi also told The Associated Press that the Taliban government wants good relations with all countries and has no issue with the United States. He urged Washington and other nations to release upward of $10 billion in funds that were frozen when the Taliban took power August 15, following a rapid military sweep across Afghanistan and the sudden, secret flight of U.S.-backed President Ashraf Ghani.
“Sanctions against Afghanistan would … not have any benefit,” Mr. Muttaqi said in Kabul.
“Making Afghanistan unstable or having a weak Afghan government is not in the interest of anyone,” said Muttaqi, whose aides include employees of the previous government as well as those recruited from the ranks of the Taliban.
Mr. Muttaqi acknowledged the world’s outrage at the Taliban-imposed limitations on girls’ education and on women in the workforce. In many parts of Afghanistan, women students between grades 7 and 12 have not been allowed to go to school since the Taliban took over, and many female civil servants have been told to stay home. Taliban officials have said they need time to create gender-segregated arrangements in schools and the workplace to meet their severe interpretation of Islam.
But Mr. Muttaqi said the Taliban have changed since they last ruled.
“We have have made progress in administration and in politics … in interaction with the nation and the world. With each passing day, we will gain more experience and make more progress,” he said.
Mr. Muttaqi said that under the new Taliban government, girls are going to school through grade 12 in 10 of the country’s 34 provinces, private schools and universities are operating unhindered, and 100% of women who had previously worked in the health sector are back on the job.
“This shows that we are committed in principle to women participation,” he said.