The new Taliban government will remain committed to its promise not to let militants use its territory to attack others, the new foreign minister in Afghanistan’s new Taliban cabinet said on Tuesday.
The first press conference by Amir Khan Muttaqi since the Taliban formed an interim government a week ago comes as governments around the world — and many Afghans at home — are searching for indications on how it will rule Afghanistan after sweeping out the US-backed government and taking over Kabul a month ago.
Mottaqi did not reveal the government’s intentions and gave little sign whether the Taliban will open up to women or minorities.
On being asked whether elections would take place, he insisted on zero interference in the country’s internal affairs.
Under the Taliban’s deal with the US that led to its withdrawal, the Taliban promised to sever ties with al-Qaida and other militant groups and make sure they don’t threaten other countries from its territory.
“We will not allow anyone or any groups to use our soil against any other countries,” he said.
The Taliban had earlier during its regime in the 1990s given shelter to al-Qaida and its chief Osama bin Laden. Their refusal to hand him over to the US after the devastating September 11, 2001 attacks led to a 20-year-war and their exit from Afghanistan.
After the Taliban took over Afghanistan on August 15, 2021, and formed an all-male cabinet, it has come under international criticism. This comes as the world fears it would go back to its ways and impose rules similar to those in the 1990s.
When asked if the Taliban would include women or minorities in the government, Mottaqi said, “We will decide in time...we will take into account what the people want.”
“We are taking everything step by step. We have not said how long this cabinet will last,” he said.
Governments around the world have said recognition will not take place until a more inclusive government is put in place in Afghanistan.
Mottaqi said the Taliban-led government intends to have good relations with countries around the world but urged them not to interfere in its internal issues. He also called for international donors to send more aid, saying “Afghanistan is poor. It needs all the help.”