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Assembly of Afghan clerics urges recognition of Taliban government

ISLAMABAD – A three-day gathering of Islamist clerics and tribal elders in the Afghan capital ended Saturday with pledges of support to the Taliban and calls on the international community to recognize the country’s Taliban-led government.

The meeting in Kabul was aligned with Afghanistan’s traditional Loya Jirgas: regular councils of elders, leaders and public figures designed to deliberate on Afghan policy issues.

But it turned out that the vast majority of those in attendance were Taliban officials and supporters, mostly Muslim clerics. Women were not allowed to attend, unlike Loya Jirgas who was held under a US-backed government in the past.

The former insurgents, who have kept decision-making in full swing since taking over the country last August, touted the meeting as a forum to hear a range of voices on issues facing Afghanistan.

According to Mujib-ul Rahman Ansari, a cleric who attended the meeting, an 11-point statement at the end calls on countries in the region and the world, the United Nations, Islamic organizations and others to build a Taliban-led Afghanistan. recognize all sanctions imposed since the Taliban takeover and the thawing of Afghan assets abroad.

Ansari said more than 4,500 Muslim clerics and elders who attended renewed their allegiance and loyalty to the supreme leader and spiritual leader of the Taliban, Haibatullah Akhundzada.

In a surprising development, the reclusive Akhundzada came to Kabul from his base in southern Kandahar province and addressed the rally on Friday. It would be his first visit to the Afghan capital since the Taliban took power.

In his hour-long speech broadcast over state radio, Akhundzada called the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan a “victory for the Muslim world.”

His appearance gave a symbolic weight to the gathering. The Taliban are under international pressure to be more inclusive as they grapple with Afghanistan’s humanitarian crises.

The international community has been wary of any recognition of or cooperation with the Taliban, especially after they curtailed the rights of women and minorities — measures that hark back to their harsh rule when they were in power in recent years Ninety.

Saturday’s 11-point resolution called on the Taliban government to “pay special attention to and ensure justice, religious and modern education, health, agriculture, industry, the rights of minorities, children, women and the entire nation, according to the Islamic holy law. †

The Taliban adhere to their own strict interpretation of Islamic law, Sharia.

Akhundzada, who rose from an inconspicuous member of the Islamist insurgents to the Taliban leader in a swift transfer of power after a 2016 US drone strike killed his predecessor, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, also prayed for the earthquake victims on Friday.

The powerful earthquake in June killed more than 1,000 people in eastern Afghanistan, unleashing another crisis for the struggling country. Overburdened aid organizations that already keep millions of Afghans alive rushed supplies to earthquake victims, but most countries have been lukewarm to calls from the Taliban for international aid.