KABUL (AP) — Afghanistan’s supreme leader called again on Friday for the international community to recognize the Taliban government, saying the world had become a “small village” and that proper diplomatic relations would help solve the world’s problems. country.
No nation has formally recognized the regime installed by the Taliban after they took power in August.
In a message written ahead of the Eid ul Fitr holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada did not mention international sticking points, including the reopening of girls’ high schools.
Instead, he said recognition must come first “so that we can deal with our problems formally and within diplomatic norms and principles.”
“Without a doubt, the world has become a small town,” said Akhundzada, who has not been seen in public for years and lives in seclusion in Kandahar.
“Afghanistan has its role in world peace and stability. In accordance with this need, the world should recognize the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.”
His Eid message comes as the country has been rocked by a series of bomb blasts, some claimed by Daesh and targeting the minority Hazara community.
Akhundzada did not mention insecurity, but said the country had been able to build “a strong Islamic and national army” as well as “a strong intelligence organization.”
Link aid to rights
Many in the international community want humanitarian aid and recognition to be linked to the restoration of women’s rights.
Tens of thousands of women lost their government jobs after the Taliban takeover, and have also been banned from leaving the country, or even traveling between cities, unless accompanied by a male relative.
In March, the Taliban sparked global outrage by closing all girls’ secondary schools just hours after allowing them to reopen for the first time since taking power.
Several Taliban officials said the ban was personally ordered by Akhundzada.
Akhundzada’s Eid message did not refer to girls’ schools, but did say authorities were opening new centers and madrasahs for “religious and modern education.”
“We respect and are committed to all sharia rights of men and women in Afghanistan…don’t use this humanitarian and emotional issue as a tool for political ends,” he said.
But he said that people should willingly embrace the ideals of the Taliban and not be forced.
“Relevant authorities should invite people to sharia wisely and avoid extremism in this regard,” he added.
He also said the government was committed to freedom of expression in accordance with “Islamic values”, even though hundreds of media outlets were shut down, banned public broadcasts of music and pulled movies and TV dramas featuring women from the air.
Akhundzada, believed to be in his 70s, has been the spiritual leader of the Taliban movement since 2016, but has remained in the shadows despite the Taliban enjoying mostly uncontested power.
His absence from public life has fueled speculation that he may be dead and his edicts the product of a committee.
Still, in October, the Taliban released an audio recording saying he was on his way to a madrassa in Kandahar.