Taliban wants to have ‘very good’ relations with Turkey, says movement’s spokesman.
US soldiers shot and killed civilians in a panic after last week’s deadly blast by Daesh/ISIS-K near Hamid Karzai International Airport in the Afghan capital Kabul, said a spokesman for the Taliban, which captured the city and most of Afghanistan earlier this month.
“A report we got indicated that the US soldiers opened fire on the crowd following the attack at Kabul airport. There were many people. Therefore, civilians — including women and children — lost their lives,” Zabihullah Mujahid told Anadolu Agency.
Stating that no organization will have any excuse left to fight after the complete withdrawal of foreign forces from the country and the establishment of the new government, Mujahid noted that those operating under Daesh/ISIS in the country did not come from Iraq or Syria but are Afghans with the terrorist group’s mentality.
He added that members of the Taliban are successfully providing security and can tackle groups such as Daesh/ISIS.
Leaving a 20-year war behind, the Taliban is capable of gathering precise and accurate intelligence, Mujahid said, adding they do not need the support of any country in their fight against Daesh/ISIS.
Afghanistan wants Turkey’s support to continue
Mujahid said the Taliban wants to have “very good” relations with Turkey.
“The Turkish public and state are our friends. There are several reasons why this friendship should continue,” he said.
Noting that the Taliban has special forces to provide security at Kabul airport, Mujahid said it will not be difficult to accomplish this while doing it for all of Afghanistan, including the capital.
On logistic and technical needs at Hamid Karzai International Airport, he said: “We had talks with Turkey. We assured it that there would be no security problems, that we will deal with the needs after we have taken care of the airport completely. If necessary, we may ask for these needs from Turkey or another country.”
Seeking Turkey’s continued support on Afghanistan, Mujahid said: “We want to have economic relations with Turkey too. We need Turkey’s support in the field of education, just as before. We want their aid to continue on this issue. We want the Turkish public and state to maintain friendly relations because there is a deep historical bond between the Afghan and Turkish peoples.”
‘Money blocked abroad will be reclaimed’
Mujahid said financial problems, which are short-term problems, will be resolved gradually once the government is formed.
“Afghanistan already has its own income. Besides, we will demand the return of the money belonging to Afghanistan, which was blocked [in the US and Switzerland] after the formation of the government,” he said.
Underlining the Taliban’s desire for aid from the World Bank and various international sources to continue, Mujahid said the Afghan public needs their help in every field, especially in terms of humanitarian and medical aid.
Taliban leader Akhundzada in Kandahar
When asked about the whereabouts of Taliban leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, who had been in hiding for years and did not share any visual or audio recordings, Mujahid said he is in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan.
“The name of our leader is not on the international blacklist. Therefore, there is no danger to him. Hibatullah Akhundzada is currently holding some meetings in Kandahar,” he said.
It marked the first time that the Taliban confirmed their leader’s location in Afghanistan.
‘We can capture Panjshir in short order’
Mujahid said negotiations are continuing with Tajik leader Ahmad Massoud, who resisted handing over Afghanistan’s Panjshir province to the Taliban.
Saying they do not want a conflict in Panjshir, he added: “We don’t want to fight. We are in favor of negotiations. If negotiations fail, the area around Panjshir is already surrounded by Taliban forces. If we want, we can seize it in a very short time.”
He also said that efforts are ongoing to establish an inclusive government.
“Everyone’s rights will be taken into account in this government,” he noted.