Afghan Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund attends a meeting. File/AFP
Afghanistan’s Taliban Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund defended the group’s rule in a public address on Saturday as he pledged that his government will "not interfere" in other countries' internal affairs, and urged international charities to continue offering aid to the war-ravaged country.
He was also saying that it was not to blame for a worsening economic crisis and is working to repair the corruption of the ousted government. He also dismissed international pressure for the formation of a more inclusive Cabinet.
Hassan's audio speech broadcast on state television — his first address to the nation since the Taliban seized power in August — came ahead of next week's meeting between the United States and the Taliban in Doha.
This file photo shows Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani (left) meets with Afghanistan's new Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund. AFP
"We assure all the countries that we will not interfere in their internal affairs and we want to have good economic relations with them," said Hassan in a nearly 30-minute speech that came amid criticism on social media for remaining silent since the hardliners took power, even as the nation faced severe challenges.
"We are drowned in our problems and we are trying to get the strength to bring our people out of miseries and hardships with God's help."
The Taliban seized power on August 15 after ousting the previous US-backed government, as Washington hurriedly withdrew its troops from the country after a 20-year war.
The Taliban's previous regime was toppled in a US-led invasion after the 9/11 attacks in the United States that were carried out by Al-Qaeda, whose now-killed founder Osama bin Laden lived in Afghanistan at that time.
Hassan is a Taliban veteran who was a close associate and political advisor to Mullah Omar, the founder of the movement and its first supreme leader.
Said to be in his 60s, Hassan served as foreign minister and deputy prime minister in the movement's previous regime between 1996-2001.
He was placed on a UN Security Council sanctions list connected to the "acts and activities" of the Taliban.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister also urged the Taliban to form a government that respects human rights, and ensure Afghanistan's soil is not used to house terrorists.
Pakistan's government is proposing that the international community develop a road map that leads to diplomatic recognition of the Taliban - with incentives if they fulfill its requirements — and then sit down face to face and talk it out with the militia's leaders.
A senior official Alam Gul Haqqani, the passport office's acting head, told reporters in Kabul they would issue between 5,000 and 6,000 passports a day and women would be employed to handle the processing of female citizens' documents.
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