Taliban claim to have changed, request $10 billion from U.S., other nations

The Taliban claim to have reformed from when they previously ruled Afghanistan, and they are asking for financial support from the U.S.
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Women, Taliban, Afghanistan, Nov. 29, 2021
Women, Taliban, Afghanistan, Nov. 29, 2021
Women, Taliban, Afghanistan, Nov. 29, 2021

The Taliban claim to be more supportive of women than when they previously ruled Afghanistan, and are now asking the U.S. and other nations to show "​​mercy and compassion" for millions of starving Afghans by unfreezing around $10 billion for the newly formed jihadist government to use. 

Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi told The Associated Press, “Sanctions against Afghanistan would ... not have any benefit."

About $10 billion of reserve funds in the Afghan central bank were frozen when the Taliban seized power in August 2021.

"Making Afghanistan unstable or having a weak Afghan government is not in the interest of anyone,” Muttaqi said.

About 40 million people live in Afghanistan. Before the U.S.-backed government fell, 72% of the population lived below the poverty line and according to the United Nations World Food Program, nearly 23 million Afghans are experiencing "severe food insecurity."

During the Taliban's reign of terror from 1996 to 2001, girls were unable to attend school or work, and while most entertainment and sports were banned, the stadiums were put to use for occasional public executions. The U.S. ousted the Taliban for harboring al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden after they orchestrated the 9/11 terrorist attacks. 

Under the new regime, Muttaqi said: "We are committed in principle to women participation," and girls are attending school through twelfth grade in 10 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces. Also, 100% of women who had been employed in health care are reportedly back at work.

Many girls between seventh and twelfth grade are barred from classes under the Taliban. Numerous female civil servants are forced to stay at home. Taliban officials have previously voiced the need to create separate workspaces and schools for men and women.

Afghan women have taken to protesting inside homes rather than in the streets where they face threats of violence from the Taliban.

He reiterated that Islamic Emirate has not targeted former Afghan government officials, despite a report by Human Rights Watch stating that dozens of former members of the Afghan National Security Forces have been executed or "forcibly disappeared" by the Taliban.

Horrific images emerged from the Kabul Airport in August, such as men clinging to departing planes and people blindly giving their children to U.S. service members. Muttaqi said this happened because thousands of Afghans were not afraid of the Taliban, but desperate for a better life in America.

Muttaqi says the government has learned from mistakes made since September and the Taliban will "work for more reforms" to benefit Afghanistan, but he did not elaborate further on specific mistakes or reforms.

Concluding the interview with an optimistic tone, Muttaqui said he believes U.S.-Taliban relations will improve because America has a "big heart" and will "choose good relations with Afghanistan.