The Afghan Taliban say they want to join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Pakistan’s concerns will be allayed.

This was stated by Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid at a press conference on Monday shortly after the group announced it had captured Panjshir Valley, the bastion of the anti-Taliban forces.

Mujahid said Afghanistan was keen on becoming part of the CPEC to partake in economic activities with the global community.

The spokesperson said that the new government in the war-torn country would address concern of Pakistan. “Pakistan’s concerns as a neighbour are valid,” Mujahid added.

“Afghanistan’s land will not be used against any country, including Pakistan,” he continued.

Islamabad had raised alarm after key Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leaders were set free by the Taliban and thousands of other prisoners in Kabul, after the group consolidated its hold over Afghanistan.

The spokesman also vowed to complete the four-nation CASA power project between Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan.

Mujahid said that the Afghan troops would be asked to resume their duties.

“The Islamic Emirate is very sensitive about insurgencies. Anyone who tries to start an insurgency will be hit hard. We will not allow another insurgency in the country,” Mujahid announced.

“Anyone who picks up arms and start resistance, without any doubts, will be our enemy.

“The war has ended; the country is getting out of the crisis. It is now time for peace and reconstruction. We need the people to support us.”

Three weeks after seizing power but with no government so far announced, the spokesman said an “interim” system would first be announced to allow changes.

“Decisions have been taken, we are now working on technical issues,” he said.

“We will announce the new government as soon as the technical issues are resolved.”

A key issue for the Taliban is the reopening of the airport in Kabul, which was the scene of a massive US-led evacuation plan that ended last week.

Mujahid said “serious efforts” were under way to restore operations.

“Technical teams from Qatar, Turkey and UAE are working hard to repair the equipment,” he said, adding that international flights will resume “soon”.

Since their sweep to power last month, the Taliban have been met with widespread condemnation from the international community, with many fearing the government will be similar to the brutal regime of 1996 to 2001 when they were first in power.

Mujahid said that “Afghanistan has the right to be recognised”.

“The international community should open their embassies in Kabul,” he said.

Asked about women’s rights, he said that women had the right to protest and speak out at the right time after the formation of the government.

The story was filed by the News Desk.
The Desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk.

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