The Afghan Taliban want Muslim countries to show upprecursors» and call them to recognize «officiallytheir government, the Prime Minister announced on Wednesday, January 19. “I call on Muslim countries to be pioneers and to recognize us officially. I hope that we will then be able to develop quicklyMohammad Hassan Akhund said at a press conference regarding the major economic crisis that has hit the country since the Taliban came to power in August and the cessation of international aid to the country.
Faced with fears that a possible return of international aid, which financed 80% of the Afghan budget, would benefit the Taliban, the Prime Minister made a point of distinguishing his government from the Afghan people. “We (the government) don’t want anyone’s help. We don’t want those responsible. We need it for our population“, he explained, considering that the Taliban had “completed» the conditions for recognition, bringing peace and security to the country.
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More than half of Afghans at risk of starvation
No country has yet recognized the government formed by the Taliban. The international community is waiting to see how these Islamist fundamentalists intend to govern Afghanistan, after having largely trampled on human rights during their first stint in power between 1996 and 2001. If the Taliban promised to toeing a softer line than during their previous rule, women remain largely excluded from public employment and secondary schools for girls mostly remain closed.
The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan has taken a dramatic turn since the return to power of the Taliban and the cessation of massive international aid which carried the country at arm’s length, representing nearly 80% of the national budget. Unemployment has skyrocketed and many civil servants have not received a salary for months. Famine now threatens 23 million Afghans, or 55% of the population, according to the UN, which needs $4.4 billion from donor countries this year to deal with the humanitarian crisis. The call for help from the United Nations has so far been little followed. Western diplomats are still looking for ways to channel aid to the stricken Afghan economy, without supporting the government, which includes many members under international sanctions. In December, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution facilitating humanitarian aid to Afghanistan for one year, a decision presented as “a good step” by the Taliban.
Last month, the countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) refused to recognize the new Taliban government, which is exclusively male and made up almost entirely of ethnic Pashtuns. The OIC also called “on the Afghan authorities to continue working towards greater inclusiveness”, in particular by developing “a plan to strengthen the participation of all Afghans, including women and girls, in all aspects of the society”. The organization has however promised to work with the UN to release hundreds of millions of dollars in Afghan assets and set up a donation fund to alleviate the humanitarian crisis. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were the only three countries to recognize the previous Taliban regime.