New Delhi: Taliban supreme leader Hebatullah Akhundzada on Wednesday said that Afghan soil will not be allowed to be used for carrying out attacks on other countries.
His comments came amid growing concerns by India and several other countries in the region about the possibility of a spurt in terrorist activities by terror groups based in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s capture of power in Kabul last year.
In a message ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, Akhundzada also said that Kabul wants good relations with the international community, but at the same time asked it not to interfere in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.
“We assure our neighbours, the region and the world that we will not allow anyone to use our territory to threaten the security of other countries. We also want other countries not to interfere in our internal affairs,” Akhundzada said.
“Within the framework of mutual interaction and commitment, we want good, diplomatic, economic and political relations with the world, including the United States, and we consider this in the interest of all sides,” he said.
Last month Afghan Ambassador to India Farid Mamundzay said that there has been a significant increase in terrorist activities across Afghanistan since the Taliban came to power.
Mamundzay, appointed by the previous Ashraf Ghani government, also said that the Taliban has “symbiotic relations” with various terror groups.
The envoy said that 21 terrorist groups are operating in Afghanistan and the current economic crisis is providing a “perfect” ground for terror groups to recruit people.
In his message, Akhundzada also talked about education.
“The Islamic Emirate pays attention to education, with special emphasis on religious as well as modern studies for children, the Islamic Emirate understands its importance and will work hard for its further enhancement,” he said.
Last month, India re-established its diplomatic presence in Kabul by deploying a “technical team” in its embassy in the Afghan capital.
India had withdrawn its officials from the embassy after the Taliban seized power last August following concerns over their security.
The reopening of the embassy came weeks after an Indian team led by JP Singh, the external affairs ministry’s point person for Afghanistan, visited Kabul and met acting Foreign Minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi and some other members of the Taliban dispensation.
In the meeting, the Taliban side had assured the Indian team that adequate security will be provided if India sends its officials to the embassy in Kabul.
India has not recognised the new regime in Afghanistan and has been pitching for the formation of a truly inclusive government in Kabul besides insisting that Afghan soil must not be used for any terrorist activities against any country.
India has also been expressing concern over the erosion of the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan.
Concerned over developments in Afghanistan, India hosted a regional dialogue on the situation in the country last November that was attended by NSAs of Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
The participating countries vowed to work towards ensuring that Afghanistan does not become a safe haven for global terrorism and called for the formation of an “open and truly inclusive” government in Kabul with representation from all sections of Afghan society.