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Taliban hoping US will ‘slowly, slowly change its policy toward Afghanistan,’ official says

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A senior Taliban official says in a new interview that he is optimistic the U.S. will shift its Afghanistan-related policies as the new regime seeks “mercy and compassion” from the world.

Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi told The Associated Press that he hopes “America will slowly, slowly change its policy toward Afghanistan.” 

“You are a great and big nation, and you must have enough patience and have a big heart to dare to make policies on Afghanistan based on international rules and relegation, and to end the differences and make the distance between us shorter and choose good relations with Afghanistan,” he said.

Muttaqi, who reportedly has aides from both the previous government and members of the Taliban, said that group does not have any issues with the U.S., but that he wants the U.S. to release more than $10 billion in funds that were frozen when the Taliban took over Kabul in August, the AP reported. 

“Sanctions against Afghanistan would … not have any benefit,” he said, adding that “making Afghanistan unstable or having a weak Afghan government is not in the interest of anyone”

The foreign minister also told the AP that leaders from the former government can live without risks to their safety in Afghanistan. However, Human Rights Watch has previously reported that the Taliban killed or forcibly disappeared more than 100 former police and intelligence officials since its takeover.

Muttaqi also discussed the international outrage of Afghanistan’s restrictive lifestyles for women, saying that new Taliban leaders are “committed in principle to women participation” and that girls are in school through grade 12 in 10 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.

Though Muttaqi alleges that the Taliban have changed, during their first rule decades ago the group barred women from many realms of public life including schools, workplaces and entertainment. 

Earlier this year, the Taliban said that it could be a problem “for the world” if the U.S. did not recognize the group’s rule as legitimate. 

“Our message to America is, if unrecognition continues, Afghan problems continue. It is the problem of the region and could turn into a problem for the world,” spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in October. 

Tags Afghan peace process Afghan Taliban Afghanistan Amir Khan Muttaqi Kabul War in Afghanistan

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