The Taliban has vowed to tackle climate change and global security as part of the terror group’s attempt to rebrand itself and modernize despite reports of civilian executions and the erosion of women’s rights under the new Afghan regime.
Abdul Qahar Balkhi, a member of the Taliban’s Cultural Commission, says the Islamists want to play a role on the global stage.
He told Newsweek:
‘We hope not only to be recognized by regional countries but the entire world at large as the legitimate representative government of the people of Afghanistan who have gained their right of self-determination from a foreign occupation with the backing and support of an entire nation after a prolonged struggle and immense sacrifices despite all odds being stacked against our people.
‘We believe the world has a unique opportunity of rapprochement and coming together to tackle the challenges not only facing us but the entire humanity.
‘These challenges ranging from world security and climate change need the collective efforts of all, and cannot be achieved if we exclude or ignore an entire people who have been devastated by imposed wars for the past four decades.’
The comments come amid the Taliban’s efforts to project a more moderate image, two decades after they were ousted from power in Afghanistan.
During their rule from 1996 to 2001, they committed massacres, eroded women’s rights, burned vast areas of fertile land as part of its scorched earth policy, harbored terrorists, and sold women into sex slavery as part of its harsh enforcement of Sharia law.
Despite their alleged climate change goals, the Taliban previously carried out heavy deforestation from an illegal timber trade.
Millions of acres of forests were cleared throughout the country to supply wood to the Pakistani markets with no reforestation efforts.
After seizing power again, the Taliban has now vowed to build a more ‘inclusive’ society and claimed women’s rights will be respected and girls will still be able to go to school.
But the UN has already warned severe rights abuses are being carried out including ‘summary executions’ of civilians, the recruitment of child soldiers, and restrictions on the rights of women and girls.
Meanwhile, the country’s former interior minister Masoud Andarabi has claimed innocent children are being killed.
Many Afghans are clearly skeptical of the Taliban’s new promises and have been racing to leave the country, leading to the chaos at Kabul’s international airport.
The new regime has not yet outlined its foreign policy aims other than aggressively seeking investment to ensure their ‘stability.’
h/t Rúnar O.
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