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Taliban leader addresses nation, calls for international aid

AT News

KABUL: Taliban’s prime minister, Mullah Mohammed Hassan Akhund, called on international community on Saturday in his first ever address to Afghan nation to not stop their aid, saying Afghanistan is already facing threat of famine.

Speaking in his first TV address since Taliban’s takeover in August, Akhund promised his government would not interfere in internal affairs of other countries.

In a half hour audio message, Akhund said that the Taliban are trying to solve the problems of the people. “We are working overtime in every department,” he said, blaming Afghanistan’s hunger crisis, unemployment and financial meltdown on former president Ashraf Ghani’s US-backed government.

However, he called famine a test from God, “after people rebelled against him.”

This is as the United Nations aid agencies say that about half the country is facing starvation as one of the worst famines in decades and economic collapse made many Afghans desperate for food. Residents are selling many of their possessions and even their children just to put a meal on the table,

Akhund asked all the international charity organisations to not withhold their aid and to help Afghanistan nation so that the problems of the people could be solved.

He also called on the US to unlock about $10 billion of Afghanistan funds frozen after the Taliban defeated the previous administration in mid-August.

The US and other countries refuse to acknowledge the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan, ending aid that amounted to about 75% of the economy. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund also put an end to international loans.

Akhund claimed that his government had cracked down on corruption that had afflicted what he called “the weakest system in the world.” It was also working on ways to pay thousands of government workers who have not been paid for months, he said.

Western countries have pledged to keep up their economic blockade of Afghanistan’s new rulers until the Taliban creates an inclusive government and recognizes women’s rights.

Akhund claims his newly installed Islamic Emirate has members from all over the country and his exclusion of women from work and girls from school “has saved women’s dignity.”

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