How much of a threat is the Islamic State to Taliban’s authority in Afghanistan? The whole world witnessed 180 people killed in an IS terrorist attack at the Kabul Airport in late August. We saw with our own eyes remains of people being cleaned up next to a blown-up minivan when we visited Kabul.
Daesh (how Islamic State is known in the Arab world – J. P.) does not have the capacity to fight the Islamic Emirate. They are weak and we do not perceive them as a serious threat to us or the country. They will soon be liquidated. They will not be given the chance to use Afghanistan to attack any other country. As you know, there were a lot of groups during the [American] invasion that were trained to sow uncertainty in society and nurtured under the umbrella of the Islamic government (referring to the previous authority in Afghanistan – J. P.).
All were found and destroyed when the Islamic Emirate arrived. Their back is broken and they no longer pose a serious threat. Yes, there are [IED] explosions, while the threat they pose is minimal. I am convinced it will also be dealt with.
Are you willing to assure the public that the Taliban will not allow the Islamic State or anyone else to use Afghanistan to stage terrorist attacks like happened in 2001?
The Islamic Emirate has never broken its promises. We signed a landmark agreement in Doha that clearly states that the territory of Afghanistan will not be used against anyone. We keep our promises.
How would you explain the Taliban’s success in forcing the Americans to leave and the previous authority to escape in such a short time?
The Islamic Emirate defeated USA and NATO simply because we had the support of the people. The Islamic Emirate has always been portrayed as the bad guys, while we were only fighting for independence and to put an end to the invasion. USA invaded Afghanistan without proper cause and contrary to international law. They could not produce any document to prove the Islamic Emirate had operated against someone. Unfortunately, the West does not understand the Islamic Emirate’s policy. We differ from all other Islamic groups, such as Al-Qaeda and Daesh and have no ties to them.
Is the Taliban today any different from the Taliban that ruled 20-25 years ago and if so, then how?
Our convictions, politics and thinking have not changed. The only change is that we have gained a lot of experience. We have matured in terms of ties to the rest of the world and diplomacy. These changes happen naturally as one becomes more experienced.
You adopted a very hard line toward women when the Taliban was last in power. Today, we can see women walking the streets with their faces uncovered and allowed to hold certain jobs. Whence this change in attitudes and is the Taliban planning on giving women other rights moving forward?
I cannot agree with your claim as the previous regime was not given enough time to create the conditions necessary for women to work. The Islamic Emirate is trying to find a better, safer system for women, just as it was during the previous regime’s time.
Security of women is understood in the sense of Islamic law, such as separate classes in educational institutions and separate offices in ministries.
We need financial assistance to construct separate buildings for them. We currently have 133 such higher education institutions in ten provinces – in Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif – and are working toward reopening the rest of our schools and universities.