Head of new Afghan government calls on ex-officials to return

Akhund reiterates Taliban promise of amnesty for anyone who worked alongside the US and the gov’t it backed.

Pic credit: Aljazeera

Kabul: Afghanistan’s new acting prime minister has called on former officials who fled when the Taliban seized power last month to return to the country, saying the group “will guarantee their security and safety”, the Al Jazeera reported. 

Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund also said on Wednesday that the caretaker government would guarantee the security of diplomats, embassies and humanitarian relief institutions, stressing that the group wanted to establish positive and strong relations with countries in the region and beyond, reports said.

“We have suffered huge losses in money and lives for this historical moment in the history of Afghanistan,” Akhund added. “The stage of bloodshed, killing and contempt for people in Afghanistan has ended, and we have paid dearly for this.”

Akhund also reiterated the Taliban’s promise of amnesty for anyone who has worked alongside the United States and the administration it backed following its 2001 invasion, reports said.

“No one will be able to prove that he was subjected to revenge. And in such tense circumstances, it is easy to do what you want. But the movement is disciplined and controls its gunmen. And, we have not harmed anyone because of his previous actions,” he said reportedly.

“Therefore, I assure the Islamic nation, especially the Afghan people, that we want all the good, the causes for success and welfare, and we seek to establish an Islamic system,” he added, asking “everyone to participate with us in this blessed project”.

His comments came a day after the Taliban announced its interim government, which is formed exclusively of its own members and close associates and has excluded women and other political factions from holding any position.

Of the 33 roles announced, 14 are former Taliban officials during its previous 1996-2001 rule, five are former Guantanamo detainees, and the remaining 12 are officials from the second generation of the movement.

The makeup of the Taliban’s Afghan government has met criticism, with Afghans in Kabul noting the complete lack of women and poor ethnic representation as the majority of acting ministers and their deputies are Pashtun despite Taliban promises of an “inclusive” government.

“I assure all the countrymen that the figures will work hard towards upholding Islamic rules and Sharia law in the country,” Akhunzada said.

He told Afghans the new leadership would ensure “lasting peace, prosperity and development”, adding that “people should not try to leave the country”.

“The Islamic Emirate has no problem with anyone,” he said. “All will take part in strengthening the system and Afghanistan and in this way, we will rebuild our war-torn country.” (Al Jazeera)

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