DUBAI/ PESHAWAR: Taliban chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on Friday called on members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to recognize the group’s government in Afghanistan at their upcoming meeting in Pakistan.
Fears are growing about a pending humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan after billions of dollars’ worth of international aid was abruptly cut following the Taliban takeover of the country on Aug. 15.
The international community has not recognized the Taliban interim government due to human rights and security concerns, and issues over inclusivity. The US also froze $9.5 billion in Afghan central bank assets and imposed sanctions on the Taliban, isolating the country from the global financial system and paralyzing its banks.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry announced this week that Islamabad would be hosting a meeting on Dec. 19 of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers to draw the world’s attention to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan. The organization’s extraordinary session will include delegations from the EU, and the so-called P5 group of UN Security Council permanent members — made up of the US, the UK, France, Russia, and China — has also been invited.
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Mujahid told Arab News: “We want good relations with the OIC countries, and we ask the upcoming meeting to support us, and to recognize the government of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan.
“We are their brother, and they should support us and recognize the Afghan government. We need their recognition, support, and cooperation.”
The Taliban took over Afghanistan when US-led foreign troops withdrew after 20 years of military presence, prompting the previous Western-backed government to flee.
When American troops left Kabul on Aug. 30, the Taliban claimed almost total control of the country, with the last enclave of opposition, led by the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan, remaining in the mountainous northern region of Panjshir Valley until mid-September.
The NRFA was formed by Ahmad Massoud, the son of the late commander Ahmad Shah Massoud who led an offensive against the Soviets in the 1980s, and later against the first Taliban regime between 1996 and 2001.
Members of NRFA leadership left for neighboring Tajikistan shortly after the Taliban took over Panjshir, but Mujahid said they were now welcome to return.
“Instead of living in Tajikistan and Europe and speaking from there about a resistance that does not exist in Afghanistan, we ask them, instead, (to) return to Kabul and live with us as brothers.
“Afghanistan is peaceful now, and under our control, but we want to talk to all Afghans,” he added.