It has been more than a week since the Taliban arrived in Kabul, completing the seizure of Afghanistan and prompting the country’s President Ghani to flee the country. For now, the Islamist organisation has to deal with multiple internal and external issues, including local governance, human rights, and building relations with its neighbours.
Mohammad Naim, the official spokesman for the Taliban’s political office, has revealed to Sputnik how the Taliban will cope with all the issues left behind by the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Sputnik: The Taliban tell the international community and the Afghan people that Afghanistan will not perform any military operation that could threaten any other country. What steps will you take to confirm such claims?
Mohammad Naim: The Taliban have declared a general amnesty for Afghan government officials. This is one of the steps. Furthermore, we are engaged in peaceful talks to resolve problems that arose earlier. We negotiated with the American authorities and reached the agreement, the results of which the world sees today. We have reached an agreement on the withdrawal of foreign troops from our country. Our main objectives and first steps are talks and a peaceful solution to any problem. That policy has proved successful. The peace process has united people who managed to put aside their differences.
Sputnik: Have you decided what direction the new political system will take?
Mohammad Naim: The results we’ve achieved were unexpected and surprised us just as much as the rest of the world. No one expected this to happen now and so quickly, but it has happened. Now we must think and take appropriate steps to form a Government. We are making every effort to find a good formula for a future Government as soon as possible.
Sputnik: What will the government be like? Will it include several political parties?
Mohammad Naim: It will include ordinary citizens so that people feel that the government represents their interests. Everyone must work with sincerity rather than discrimination for the good of this nation and this country. The main purpose of the Government is to serve the people.
Sputnik: What do you think about America’s decision to postpone the withdrawal?
Mohammad Naim: We did not expect them to postpone withdrawal of their troops, and we do not accept it. The date chosen for withdrawal was 21 April. It was agreed with the US and supported by the United Nations Security Council. But the US unilaterally rescheduled it, which we strongly condemn. They must leave on time. The situation in the country has entirely changed and staying here is not in the US’ interest. They must leave on time to avoid new problems.
Sputnik: What is your opinion of Russia’s position?
Mohammad Naim: Russia’s position is quite positive, and we hope that Russia will play a part in resolving problems in Afghanistan in the future. Relations between Russia and Afghanistan are good, and we have met and held conferences in Moscow several times to solve problems in Afghanistan.
Sputnik: There are those who believe that women will have a hard time under the Taliban. Can you comment on that?
Mohammad Naim: All these accusations and rumours are empty and unfounded. Moreover, we are being targeted by the media. We have been under siege by the media for 20 years, and we haven’t had a chance to speak up, speak for ourselves. Today we have this opportunity. We are committed to the protection of women’s rights, the rights of minorities and human rights in general. We protect the interests of our people in education, health and other areas. The rumours the media spreads about us are untrue and distort the policies of the Islamic Emirate. We work under Islamic law to serve the best interests of our people.
Sputnik: What is the difference between today’s Taliban and the Taliban of 20 years ago?
Mohammad Naim: The whole world was different 20 years ago, not to mention the ongoing war in the country. As you know, the country was divided – even Kabul, despite its small size, was divided among six different organisations, and each party enjoyed the confidence and influence in its own zone, and everybody did what they wanted. There was another important issue related to internal confrontation, which resulted in the destruction of Kabul. But who destroyed it? People didn’t feel safe, didn’t feel that their children and property were safe. Afghanistan has become a house on fire. It seems logical that the first thing we should do is to unite the whole country, and then to solve the problems that were created by military criminals. We have to overcome these challenges, but unfortunately the international community has not helped the Afghan people, imposing sanctions and threats instead. Today everything has changed, and the world has experienced fundamental changes, and we have to take reasonable measures in the new conditions.
Sputnik: Why are some people keep trying to escape the country if the Taliban have guaranteed their safety?
Mohammad Naim: About three or five years ago, a lot of people began to migrate and young people began to flee the country en masse. Many drowned and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. Young people threw themselves into the jaws of death just to reach western countries. They said: “If we are engulfed in war, why don’t we run away from here?” That’s the problem.
Sputnik: What will Afghanistan’s relations with neighbouring countries be like? And when will the country be stable internally?
Mohammad Naim: We have two main problems in the country. The first one is the occupation – praise be to Allah, it is almost over. The second one is the war which has been going on for 40 years – the war which destroyed the country and caused all the problems, troubles and catastrophes, and praise be to Allah, it is also over. Today we have a good opportunity, both inside and out [of the country, Sputnik’s note] to establish contacts with neighbouring countries and the international community. This is the right moment for internal and external parties to work together in leading the Afghan people to safety, to help them to play a positive role in the development of Afghanistan and to tackle the challenges of the Afghan people.