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Taliban inches closer to int’l recognition on own terms: Muttaqi  

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KABUL: Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi has claimed that they (Taliban) were inching closer towards international recognition but any concessions Kabul’s new rulers make will be on their terms.

No country has formally recognized the government installed after the Taliban seized power in August as US-led forces withdrew following a 20-year occupation.

In his first interview since returning from talks with Western powers in Oslo, regime’s foreign minister also urged Washington to unlock Afghanistan’s assets to help ease a humanitarian crisis.

Talking to a western media outlet, Muttaqi said that Afghanistan’s new rulers were slowly gaining international acceptance. “That is our right, the right of the Afghans. We will continue our political struggle and efforts until we get our right,” he added.

The talks in Norway last month were the first involving the Taliban held on Western soil in decades. While Norway insisted the meeting was not intended to give the hardliner group formal recognition, the Taliban have touted it as such.

Muttaqi said his government was actively engaged with the international community, a clear indication, he insisted, of growing acceptance. “The international community wants to have interaction with us,” he said.

Muttaqi said several countries were operating embassies in Kabul, with more expected to open soon. “We expect that the embassies of some of the European and Arab countries will open too,” he added.

However, he said any concessions the Taliban made in areas such as human rights would be on their terms and not as a result of international pressure. “What we are doing in our country is not because we have to meet conditions, nor are we doing it under someone’s pressure,” he added.

The Taliban have promised a softer version of the Islamic rule that characterized their first stint in power from 1996 until 2001. However, the new regime has been swift to bar women from most government jobs and close the majority of girls’ secondary schools.

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