A Taliban spokesperson recently praised the Islamist group for bringing security to Afghanistan, saying it did what the United States and other countries could not do in 20 years.
Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi’s told Al-Jazeera Network on Dec. 23 that the Taliban is sticking to the Doha Agreement and claimed that Afghanistan has not been used to plot attacks on the U.S.
Muttaqi blamed the previous Afghani government for allowing ISIS to establish a foothold, but said the Taliban was able to address the security threat in a “short time.”
He said in the four months since the U.S.’ chaotic withdrawal, the Taliban has “managed to bring about the kind of security that the U.S. and the armies of 50 countries had failed to bring about in 20 years.”
U.S soldiers stand guard along a perimeter at the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Shekib Rahmani)
“Had they managed to achieve this, they would have considered this a great victory,” Muttaqi said. “We have succeeded in this all on our own, and for this we are worthy of praise, not of sanctions.”
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Muttaqi claimed further that the Taliban respects human rights and “works for the people.”
“We inherited a weak economy and widespread corruption from the previous government,” he said. “We want to build a strong economy and have a good relationship with the world.”
An Afghan man collects scraps of aluminum and plastic, in Herat, Afghanistan, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Despite Muttaqi’s proclamations of a secure nation, Afghanistan’s economy is on the verge of total collapse. Nearly 80% of Afghanistan’s previous government’s budget came from the international community. That money, now cut off, financed hospitals, schools, factories and government ministries.
Sanctions have crippled banks while the U.N., the United States and others struggle to figure out how to get hundreds of millions of dollars of humanitarian aid to Afghans while bypassing the Taliban.
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The World Health Organization has warned that millions of children in Afghanistan are suffering malnutrition, while the United Nations says some 97% of Afghans are living below the poverty line.
Afghan girls participate in a lesson at Tajrobawai Girls High School, in Herat, Afghanistan, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
And despite assurances from the Taliban that they would respect women’s rights, female high school students between the grades of seven and 12 have not been permitted to go to school since the Taliban took over, and many female civil servants have been told to stay home.
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Taliban officials have said they need time to create gender-segregated arrangements in schools and workplaces that meet their severed interpretation of Islam.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.