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This article is part of a Fox News Digital series examining the effects of the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan a year ago this week.
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen blamed the West for the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan after the group took over last year.
“Our hands are tied,” Shaheen told Fox News Digital in an exclusive interview. “We’re facing sanctions, sanctions – countries, including the United States, that have been funding projects here in the country and some of those projects have been completed, about 95% of them, they’ve stopped funding those projects, so in the country This is also a reason for increasing poverty.”
“So we have problems, but many of them are inherited from the past and from the international community,” he said. Sanctions against the country “Economic conditions are created.”
Shaheen commented on several topics regarding the situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban took over after the hasty US military withdrawal. A protracted humanitarian crisis The country has also expressed security concerns after the US found Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri in Kabul.
Earlier this month, the US killed al-Zawahri in a “successful” counter-terrorism operation. Shaheen said that the investigation into al-Zawahri’s killing is ongoing and the results of that investigation will be revealed in due course. He said that the Taliban is sticking to the Doha agreement and does not host terrorist organizations in the country.
“We have given a clear message to all groups or people that there is no place for them to be used against other countries in Afghanistan. If anyone is hiding in the country. We are looking at it and when we know we will not allow it. That is the policy,” he said, but later Whether or not terrorists are hiding in the country without the knowledge of the Taliban “doesn’t mean the country’s government is compatible or agreeing with it,” he said.
Shaheen blamed the US for poor relations between the two countries after 9/11, saying that Afghanistan had condemned the attack and that the US had offered to “cooperate” in the investigation before the attack. According to the FBI, Osama bin Laden planned the attack while sheltering in Afghanistan under the protection of the Taliban. Shaheen did not deny Bin Laden at the time or admit any cooperation with Al Qaeda.
however Relations with other countries are difficult. Shaheen, reacting to China’s treatment of the Uyghur population in Afghanistan, expressed the need to have “normal relations” with other countries to achieve better economic security and to “normalize” the situation in Afghanistan. internal problems.”
“We hope so China will treat all its citizens Equally,” he said, the Taliban “does not interfere in the internal affairs of any country.”
The Taliban want to project an image of open cooperation with the international community to bring much-needed aid to the depressed Afghan economy. The US froze $7 billion in assets in the country and ended discussions on the possible release of funds after al-Zawahri’s death.
Shaheen insisted that the US should return the money to “the people of Afghanistan”, saying there was “no rational justification”. Freeze the money.
“They have frozen people’s assets,” Shaheen said. “Once again, we want these assets and this money to be frozen because without it, the Bank of Afghanistan cannot function and operate normally and it is necessary for the normal life of the people of Afghanistan,” including extensive imports and exports. activity
The Taliban have not received money “directly” from the US government, but have spent millions in aid through the United Nations and humanitarian groups, according to Shaheen. Some critics fear that money sent to Afghanistan and the Taliban will seep into terrorist groups, but al-Jawarhi claimed the Taliban stood by their “commitment”. Don’t let terrorism breed in their country.
That commitment includes a renewed rejection of terrorism in the country.
“We have sent a clear message to all groups or people that they have no place in Afghanistan to be used against other countries,” Shaheen said. “If there’s someone hiding in the country, we’re looking at it. And we know we’re not going to allow it. That’s the policy.”
He praised Afghanistan’s ability to take down “empires and superpowers” from the United Kingdom to the US, and said that “they were facing the resistance of the Afghan people,” which was “successful.”
Part of that is taking weapons and equipment left over from the US withdrawal and using them to bolster Taliban forces “to protect our people, our borders.”
“We are keeping it,” Shaheen said bluntly, referring to the equipment now as “the property of the people of Afghanistan.”