Afghanistan: Taliban jirga discusses security, economic situation

By Shafiq Ahmad


KABUL, Afghanistan (AA): The Taliban called a traditional Afghan jirga or gathering of tribal and community elders Tuesday to find a solution to the economic and security situation in the war-torn and cash-strapped country. They also announced an interim government.

The jirga was convened at the Foreign Office building in the capital Kabul, where speakers not only criticized the US for dividing Afghan society along ethnic lines but also swore to restore peace in the country.

Over a hundred members of the assembly listened to speakers including Anas Haqqani, a member of the Taliban political office in Qatar and the brother of Taliban commander Sirajuddin Haqqani.
In his speech, Arsala Kharoti said “the time has come to be united, to remove differences, and to offer social justice to the Afghans.”

He cited political turmoil in Afghanistan in 1978 and the former Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in the following years as examples of the Afghan nation’s hardships during the last 43 years.

According to another speaker, Sheikh Khalid, the US has split the society in the last 20 years, with a rich-poor division visible.

Ahmadullah Ahmadzai, a Taliban member of the peace committee, told Anadolu Agency that since taking control of Kabul, they have been hosting jirgas with tribal elders, businessmen and officials of past governments to find solutions to the country’s problems.

Supreme Leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada has tasked top Haqqani network leader Khalilur Rehman Haqqani with meeting people from various walks of life and easing security and economic tensions in the country.

Challenges for Taliban

A tribal elder, Ehsanullah Amin Munawar, said he is attending the jirga to assist the Taliban in addressing challenging issues such as security and economics and help them through social networking. Though he is in Afghanistan to unconditionally support the Taliban, he has offered the new ruler the opportunity to use his national and international connections to help bring peace to the country.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is a truly independent country that can improve the country’s political system and bring peace and stability.

On the country’s ailing economy, he was upbeat, saying that when there is peace, there will be no terrorism or narcotics.

“These are the three requirements I discussed with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, and they told me that they would meet them,” he added.

Any country with solid security and no corruption succeeds, which the Taliban will ensure, so if these concerns are fixed, he is confident that the international community will assist Afghanistan, Munawar argued.

Afghanistan will receive a lot of aid from the international community since it is a geopolitically important country.

“Helping Afghanistan will benefit them as well,” he noted.

Interim Government

The Taliban on Tuesday announced an “interim government” in Afghanistan to be led by Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund.

Zabiullah Mujahid announced the long-awaited 33-member cabinet one day after the Taliban said they had taken full control of the country.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Mullah Abdul Salam Hanafi are set to serve as Akhund’s deputies, Mujahid told a news conference in Kabul’s Information Ministry building.

Haqqani network head Sarajuddin Haqqani will be acting interior minister, and Amir Khan Muttaqi has been named acting foreign minister.

Mullah Yaqoob was named acting defense minister, with Zabihullah as acting culture and communications minister.

After today’s phase one, more ministry officials will be named in phase two, said Zabihullah, adding that a ministry of women’s affairs is being considered.

Hassan Akhund, a founding Taliban member and head of its influential leadership council or Rehbari Shura, said they included people from different ethnic backgrounds in the interim government, with no discrimination.

The Afghan people have suffered considerably over the last 43 years, with invasions by the former Soviet Union in 1979 and US forces in 2001, which lasted until their recent withdrawal on Aug. 31.

[Photo: Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid announcing interim government at press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 07 2021.  Photographer: Bilal Güler/AA]

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