Afghanistan's acting prime minister, Mullah Hasan Akhund pictured at the presidential palace in Kabul. File photo
Afghanistan's acting prime minister, Mullah Hasan Akhund, on Wednesday called for international governments to officially recognise the country's Taliban administration, saying at a news conference in Kabul that all conditions had been met.
"I ask all governments, especially Islamic countries, that they should start recognition," Akhund said, in his first major public broadcast appearance since he assumed the role in September.
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Meanwhile, he also called on Muslim nations to be the first to officially recognise the Afghan government that seized power in August.
"I call on Muslim countries to take the lead and recognise us officially. Then I hope we will be able to develop quickly," Mohammad Hassan Akhund told a conference in Kabul to address the country's massive economic crisis.
A child holds free bread distributed from a bakery in Kabul on Tuesday. AFP
Foreign powers have been reluctant to recognise the Taliban administration, which took over Afghanistan in August while Western nations led by the United States have frozen billions of dollars worth of Afghan banking assets and cut off development funding that once formed the backbone of Afghanistan's economy.
Akhund and other Taliban administration officials made an appeal at the news conference, also attended by United Nations officials, for a loosening of restrictions on money into the country, blaming its growing economic crisis on the freezing of funds.
No country has yet recognised the Taliban government, with Western nations watching to see how the hardliners will rule this time around.
A young shoe cleaner works along a street in Kabul on Tuesday. AFP
But nations face the delicate task of channelling aid to the stricken economy without propping up the regime, with many members of what the Taliban call their interim government on an international sanctions list.
More than a half million people in Afghanistan have lost their jobs since the Taliban takeover in mid-August, the International Labor Organization said in a report released Wednesday.
The ILO said the crisis has paralyzed the economy and slammed the labor market. The situation is especially devastating for women and for people working in farming, government posts, social services and construction, with many people losing their jobs or not receiving their wages.
People wait to receive free bread distributed as part of the Save Afghans From Hunger campaign in Kabul. AFP
Many companies are hard pressed to stay afloat, as thousands of Afghans flee the country each day. Between 700,000-900,000 jobs are likely to have been lost by June as work becomes more scarce, said the report by the ILO, the United Nations agency working to promote labor standards and decent work for all people.
The economic fallout from the takeover has been vast, with cash shortages and limits on bank withdrawals leaving both companies and individuals struggling.
In his first interview since returning from talks with Western powers in Oslo, Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi also urged Washington to unlock Afghanistan's assets to help ease a humanitarian crisis.
The US seems to be sending mixed signals on Afghanistan (“It’ll take more than US-Taliban deal to keep radicals away,” Sept. 3, Gulf Today). While Trump is planning to withdraw troops
US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad showed the draft of the deal to the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, earlier this week, saying it only needs President Donald Trump's approval.
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