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Leading Taliban Member to Asharq Al-Awsat: Our Govt Is Ready, to Be Announced in Days

Leading Taliban Member to Asharq Al-Awsat: Our Govt Is Ready, to Be Announced in Days

Tuesday, 7 September, 2021 - 06:15
Suhail Shaheen. (AP)

Member of the Taliban’s politburo Suhail Shaheen revealed that internal consultations and talks have been completed and a new Afghan government will be announced in days.


In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Shaheen revealed that the government was ready.


Shaheen is one of the most prominent members of the Taliban team that was negotiating with the United States in the past three years.


He did not name who will be appointed as prime minister and denied that head of Pakistani intelligence, Faiz Hameed had arrived in Kabul to help in the government formation process.


His visit has nothing to do with the Afghan government, but rather it was an internal matter that concerns the Taliban alone, he added.


Shaheen stressed that the Taliban was committed to the agreement reached with the US administration concerning refugees. It will not allow any party, including al-Qaeda, to launch terrorist attacks against the US and its interests, and its forces or allies in the region.


Afghanistan will not become a platform for launching terrorist attacks against any other country. “We are committed to this,” he stated.


Asked about the Taliban’s ability to commit to preventing armed groups from launching such attacks from Afghan territory, he said the movement can meet its pledges.


On whether it will accept ISIS to operate in Afghanistan, he noted that the organization had a role when the country was being occupied by the US. Now that the occupation is over, it no longer has a reason to carry out attacks.


Its operations are now prohibited by Islam, he remarked.


Moreover, Shaheen denied that the Taliban was exchanging information with the Americans. “This is not part of the agreement. We do not offer the Americans information.”


On women’s rights, he stressed that the Taliban will respect their right to an education and work. As Muslim women, however, they must respect Sharia law, he added.


Commenting on Afghans clamoring to Kabul airport to escape Taliban rule, Shaheen said they wanted to leave because the Americans had promised to take them to the US. “They had given them hope.”


As for elections, he remarked that they will be determined by the leadership, revealing that a constitution should be drafted in the near future. “All of these issues will be discussed,” he stated.


On the Taliban’s attack on the last resistance pocket in Panjshir, Shaheen said negotiations were held with the resistance for two weeks, but they refused the movement’s offers. They had made very high demands that led to fighting.


“The people of Panjshir are our own. They do not want to fight us. They will be represented in the government,” he added.


He confirmed that all ethnicities will be represented in cabinet, such as the Tajik, Baluch, Hazara, Pashtun, Uzbek, Turkmen and others.


Addressing relations with neighboring Pakistan, Shaheen said they were good. Pakistan is an Islamic country and Afghanistan is a land-locked nation. “We need good relations with neighboring countries.”


“Our ties with China have been good for years, as well as with Iran, which shares a long border with us,” he remarked.


Commenting on reports that Iran had sent members of the Fatemiyoun Brigade to help former President Ashraf Ghani escape the Taliban, Shaheen said that it was Ghani who asked Iran to help.


Iran will not send the Brigade members from Syria to Afghanistan, he stressed, noting that some countries want to revive the civil war in Afghanistan.


On whether the Taliban’s good ties with Iran will pave the ways for relations with Hezbollah and the Houthi militias, he replied: “No, we will not have relations with them. We will focus on our country and rule wisely and tolerantly, while accepting the other.”


“We will have the strongest relations with sides that will help us rebuild Afghanistan,” he said.


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