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The head of the “Taliban” government delivers the first speech since the movement’s seizure of power in Afghanistan

The head of the “Taliban” government in Afghanistan, Muhammad Hassan Akhundzada, stressed that the movement will not interfere in the affairs of other countries, and considered that it is not responsible for the deteriorating economic conditions in the Afghan territories.

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Today, Saturday, the official Afghan TV broadcast a half-hour recorded audio speech, which is considered the first by Akhundzadeh, one of the founders of the “Taliban”, since the movement seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021.

The Prime Minister in the “Taliban” government delivered this speech amid criticism of him on social media because of his silence since the movement’s control despite the difficulties facing the country, and the speech comes in light of the approach of talks with the United States in Doha next week.

Akhundzadeh said: “We assure all countries that we will not interfere in their internal affairs and we want to establish good economic relations with them.

He noted that the problems of rising unemployment and financial collapse started under the previous US-backed government, adding that Afghans should not believe the Taliban’s claim of responsibility for the economic downturn.

Akhundzadeh continued: “Oh nation, be vigilant. The remnants of the previous government… are stirring up unrest and misleading people so that they do not trust the (current) government.”

He added that the ousted government was running “the weakest regime in the world”, in reference to the spread of corruption, and in return, he said that the “Taliban” is eliminating corruption and enhancing security throughout the country.

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And Akhundzadeh added: “We seek as much as possible to solve citizens’ problems, and we work overtime in each department.”

He pointed out that the movement formed committees to solve the economic crisis and pay the salaries of government employees, who have been working without pay for months.

As Akhundzadeh said in his speech: “We ask all international humanitarian organizations not to stop their aid and provide aid to our exhausted nation… so that people’s problems can be solved.”

Akhundzadeh, who is believed to be in his sixties, is a Taliban veteran, and was a close aide and political advisor to Mullah Omar, the movement’s founder and first leader. He also served as the foreign minister and deputy prime minister in the movement’s previous regime between 1996 and 2001.

His government is now facing a series of challenges, most notably reviving the country’s collapsed economy after the suspension of international aid, which made up 75% of the country’s budget under previous governments.

Since the Taliban seized power, the inflation and unemployment index has risen dramatically in Afghanistan amid the collapse of the banking system.

The crisis worsened after Washington froze about $10 billion of the assets of the Afghan Central Bank, and the decline intensified with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund stopping their financing of Afghanistan.

Source: AFP + Associated Press.