In this file photo taken on Aug 9, 2020 and released by the Press Office of President of Afghanistan, people attend on the last day of the Loya Jirga, at the Loya Jirga Hall in Kabul. (PHOTO / HANDOUT / PRESS OFFICE OF PRESIDENT OF AFGHANISTAN / AFP)
The international community should engage with Afghanistan positively as the country's grand assembly called for the recognition of the Taliban government and the release of the nation's frozen assets, experts said.
At the three-day grand assembly, representatives from various sectors of Afghan society stressed their demand that the international society and regional community give the Taliban government official recognition, by “engaging with the Taliban on a more robust basis”, said Amina Khan, director of the Centre for Afghanistan, Middle East and Africa at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad.
At the three-day grand assembly, representatives from various sectors of Afghan society stressed their demand that the international society and regional community give the Taliban government official recognition, by “engaging with the Taliban on a more robust basis”, said Amina Khan, director of the Centre for Afghanistan, Middle East and Africa at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad
“August will mark one year of Taliban’s presence in power as the political dispensation in Afghanistan…,” Khan said. “And they felt that they’ve delivered on certain terms, such as improving security in the country.”
The much-awaited assembly, locally known as Loya Jirga, opened in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Thursday and lasted for three days. Thousands of representatives discussed a variety of issues ranging from stabilizing security to strengthening national unity. It was the first such meeting since the Taliban’s takeover 11 months ago.
An 11-point resolution issued at the end of the meeting called for the establishment of Islamic system in Afghanistan which is “the outcome of more than four decades of sacrifices and suffering of our people has ensured justice, peace and security in the country, and deserved support and we not only support but also defend it as our religion and national obligation.”
The assembly said it supported the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s decision that “Afghan soil won’t be used against any country and Afghanistan also won’t allow anyone to interfere in its internal affairs”.
At the Jirga, Supreme leader of the Taliban-run administration Haibatullah Akhundzada emphasized implementing Sharia or Islamic laws, ensuring justice, investment and safeguarding Afghanistan's freedom.
On Friday, the leader of the caretaker administration said Afghans had expelled the occupying forces from their country to establish an Islamic system and now “we have Islamic system and this is the responsibility of religious scholars to implement Islamic laws.”
Cleric Mujib-ul Rahman Ansari said the resolution urged the international community to give official recognition to the Taliban, the Afghanistan media outlet RFE/RL’s Radio Azadi reported.
The resolution called on the world, Afghanistan’s neighboring countries, the United Nations, global organizations, “specifically on the Islamic countries and agencies to recognize the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan as a legitimate government,” according to a report of Ariana News, a news network in Afghanistan.
According to RFE/RL’s Radio Azadi, the declaration also called for positive interactions, the lifting of all sanctions on Afghanistan, and unfreezing “the assets of the Afghan people, and support our nation.”
Meanwhile, the assembly also made the plea for the outside world to provide economic assistance, including unfreezing the $9.5 billion assets frozen by the US, and lift the restrictions on bank transfers to Afghanistan, Amina Khan noted.
“The de facto government of Afghanistan is within its rights to seek international recognition and return of frozen assets”, said Salman Bashir, a former Pakistani ambassador to China, adding that the international community needs to do all it can to assist Afghanistan returned to normalcy.
He added that the Taliban also have to “give solemn assurances to abide by established rules of interstate conduct and international law and conventions including on human rights”.
About 3,500 religious scholars were invited from across the war-torn country to attend the three-day gathering, reported the Afghanistan state-run Bakhtar news agency.
The caretaker government’s chief spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, told the state-run Mili Television that the Jirga allowed even representatives of Iran and Pakistan-based Afghan refugees to attend. Some 70 personalities representing Afghan refugees in Pakistan and about 30 others from refugees living in Iran participated in the Jirga.
Participants of the jirga also discussed a series of issues, including reopening schools for girls from grade 7th to grade 12th, the type of government, the national flag, and the national anthem.
“These gatherings are crucial for Afghanistan if they are done honestly and the wishes of the people are respected,” Lawanng Arman, a resident of Khost, told the news website of Khaama Press.
According to the Afghan TV news network, TOLO News, the final resolution of the grand assembly did not bring up the issue of reopening schools for girls, but it urged the government to attend to “religious and modern education”.
Xinhua contributed to the story.