Taliban Supreme Leader Hebatullah Akhundzada said on Wednesday that no one will be allowed to use Afghanistan’s soil to launch attacks on other countries.
In a message issued ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, the reclusive Taliban chief called on other countries not to interfere in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.
Akhundzada’s pledge not to allow Afghan soil to be used to launch attacks on other countries comes amid UN reports of the presence of thousands of foreign fighters in Afghanistan, including members of al-Qaeda and Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba. (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
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“We assure our neighbours, the region and the world that we will not allow anyone to use our soil to threaten the security of other countries. We ask other countries not to interfere in our internal affairs,” Akhundzada said in his message.
“We want good and strong diplomatic, economic and political relations with the whole world, including the US, within a framework of mutual communication and commitment, and we consider this in the interest of all sides,” he said.
Last month, India re-established a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan by deploying a “technical team” at the embassy in Kabul after the Taliban took over in August last year when it withdrew all its officials.
The Taliban’s caretaker interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani assured an Indian delegation led by Joint Secretary JP Singh, a key figure in Afghanistan’s Ministry of External Affairs, who visited Kabul before deploying the technical team, to take action against the group LeT. JM, said people familiar with the matter.
India has yet to see any action against these terror groups, although the Taliban’s commitment is a marked departure from the group’s past behavior, the people said.
Akhundzada made vague promises about education in Afghanistan in his message.
The Taliban “pays special attention to the education process, especially the education of children in terms of religion and modern education,” he said.
He said that the Taliban are also aware of the problems faced by the Afghan people. Strengthening the economy and solving these problems is the “joint responsibility” of the Taliban and the nation, he said.
A major sticking point with Western powers is the failure of the Taliban setup to deliver on numerous commitments to reopen educational institutions for girls and women.
Although several countries have reopened their embassies in Kabul, none have officially recognized the Taliban setup.