Afghanistan dispatches: Taliban PM says ‘God will provide food for the people’ in first public TV address
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Afghanistan dispatches: Taliban PM says ‘God will provide food for the people’ in first public TV address

Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation there after the Taliban takeover. Here, a Staff Correspondent for JURIST in Kabul reports on the first national TV address by the “Prime Minister” of the Taliban cabinet, in which Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund denied that the Taliban bear any responsibility for the spiraling economic crisis in the country and insisted that “God will provide food for the people.” For privacy and security reasons, we are withholding our Correspondent’s name. The text has been only lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.

Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund, head of the Taliban cabinet, delivered an audio speech Saturday for the first time since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan. His silence had raised a lot questions about him, and no one saw him talking in the past three months even in the official meetings in which he appeared. The 30-minute speech was broadcast by the Afghanistan National TV, which is strictly controlled by the Taliban at the moment.

Hasan Akhund pointed out that the Taliban have faced many challenges during the last two decades and they only have three major objectives, which are

1) exiting the US and its allies from Afghanistan,

2) provision of security, and

3) paving the way for a real Islamic system in the country.

Hasan Akhund and the Current Situation in the Country

In the context of all this it seems that Hasan Akhund does not have a clear understanding of what is currently going on in the country. More importantly, he and his team have no practical plan for resolving and/or responding to the current economic and social crisis. In particular, Hasan Akhund said that unemployment, poverty, insecurity, and other social crisis does not have do anything with the Taliban. He added that the former government headed by Ghani is responsible for what the people of Afghanistan are facing at the moment.

I was expecting that Hasan Akhund would announce some plans on how the Taliban are planning to face the current crisis in sectors such as financial and banking, security, economy, public health, etc. But unfortunately Hasan Akhund’s speech did not set out any plans for that.

Hasan Akhund on Women Fundamental Rights

Women cannot go to work and study since the Taliban came back to power in August. At the moment, women who work in the health sector are allowed go to their work the rest of the sectors are managed and run by men only. Women-led demonstrations asking for the right to education and work did not bring any result and the Taliban are also not providing specific plans for these two sectors. However, they have talked about it many times and provided general information saying they are planning for specific procedures for women’s education and work.

Hasan Akhund says that women have the right to work and study in the country, still not providing any details on how and when girls will attend schools and women will be allowed to go to their work. He further says that women can go to work and study at the moment and we are providing better grounds for their education and work – they are privileged with basic and fundamental rights. But Hasan Akhund’s picture concerning girl’s education and work is different from what is currently and actually happening across Afghanistan. Not all women are allowed to go to work and not all schools are opened so that girls can study.

Hasan Akhund on International Relations

Hasan Akhund has declared that Afghanistan’s soil will not be used against any country, especially the neighbors. According to Hasan Akhund, the Taliban enforces an impartiality policy against other countries and they expect the same from international community towards Afghanistan.

This is the only concern of almost all neighbors currently. The regional meetings on Afghanistan have called on the Taliban to ensure that the territory of Afghanistan will not be used against any other country either by the Taliban and/or other terrorist groups.

Iran and Russia are mostly concerned by the recent ISIS-K developments in Afghanistan. Russia has announced that ISIS members are traveling to Afghanistan to join the ISIS-K which made the Iranians concerned because they are already in direct war against ISIS in Syria and Yemen.

Hasan Akhund on Public Amnesty

Hasan Akhund repeated that the former government officials including the military and those who fought against the Taliban during the past twenty years are forgiven. No Taliban leaders and commanders are allowed to punish people because they had any involvement in the war against them.

However, in some provinces there are reports that former military officials and employees of the former government are being targeted and killed by the Taliban. The Taliban have made no statements on the recent killings of military officials which are said to have been conducted by them.

Hasan Akhund left everything to God

In his speech, Hasan Akhund said that the Taliban are not here to provide food for the people, but instead God will do that. He said that the Taliban are not responsible for the current economic crisis. Hasan Akhund said that God will provide food for the people, which means there is severe problem within the government as regards any plans to respond to the economic crisis.

All of the above points illustrate how Afghans are facing an uncertain future.