By Kathy Gannon | Associated Press
KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan’s new foreign minister said Tuesday that the Taliban governing the country remain committed to not allowing militants to use their territory to launch attacks. But he refused to say when or if the country’s new rulers would create a more inclusive government.
Without other political factions and women serving in the government, the Taliban seem unlikely to win international recognition as the legitimate leaders of Afghanistan. And without such recognition, the Afghan state is unable to tap billions of its funds frozen abroad, leaving it virtually bankrupt at a time of immense humanitarian need.
The Taliban received sharp criticism last week after they announced a Cabinet made up entirely of men from their movement, including several on international terror lists. Taliban leaders previously had promised broader representation.
Amir Khan Mutaqi, a longtime Taliban negotiator named as foreign minister, appeared Tuesday at his first news conference since becoming a member of the interim government. But he gave little indication of whether the Taliban would bend to international pressure.
Asked if the Taliban would include women or ethnic and religious minorities in the government, Mutaqi answered, “We will decide in time” but did not offer a commitment.
He underscored that the current government is ruling on an interim basis and said that when a permanent one is formed, “we will take into account what the people want.” He would not give a timetable for a permanent government.
“We are taking everything step by step. We have not said how long this Cabinet will last,” Mutaqi said.
After the withdrawal of Western troops and the Taliban’s sudden return to power last month, the U.S. and its allies have used money, potential recognition and warnings of isolation to pressure them away from repeating their repressive rule of the 1990s. …read more
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