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Taliban say Afghanistan won’t need large military

AT News

KABUL: The Taliban’s foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, said on Friday in Islamabad that Afghanistan does not need a large military and no longer needs former Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF).

Speaking at a public talk in one of Pakistan’s Institute of Strategic Studies, Muttaqi said the army was created by foreign intervention and that Afghanistan is no longer in need of having such large numbers. Muttaqi stressed that they need a small army of people with commitment and patriotism ingrained in them.

The Taliban foreign minister was in Pakistan with a 20-member delegation for negotiations on opening trade routes among other issues. On Thursday, he also met the special representatives on Afghanistan from the United States, China, and Russia, who were in Pakistan for a meeting under the Troika Plus format—the three countries plus Pakistan—on Afghanistan.

He said the Taliban administration is inclusive because it has members of various ethnicities in it, but asserted that the international community is trying to force them to include their political opponents, which is not the norm elsewhere.

In multiple regional conferences on Afghanistan since the Taliban took power, including the Troika Plus in Islamabad Thursday, the demand for inclusivity has taken center stage.

The joint statement issued after Thursday’s meeting “called on the Taliban to work with fellow Afghans to take steps to form an inclusive and representative government that respects the rights of all Afghans and provides for the equal rights of women and girls to participate in all aspects of Afghan society.”

Similar statements were made earlier in conferences in New Delhi, Tehran, and Moscow.

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