The Afghan Taliban Prime Minister defended the group’s rule in a public speech on Saturday, saying it was not to blame for a worsening economic crisis and was working to fix the corruption of the overthrown government.
He also rejected international pressure to create a more inclusive cabinet.
The half-hour audio, played by state media, was Mohammed Hassan Akhund’s first public speech since the Taliban captured Kabul and secured their rule over the country three months ago.
The Taliban takeover cut off international aid to the government and freezes billions in Afghan assets overseas, adding to an already crumbling economy.
Akhund said the problems of worsening unemployment and the financial crisis began under the previous US-backed administration, adding that Afghans shouldn’t believe claims that the Taliban were to blame.
âNation, be vigilant. Those left in secret from the previous government are causing … fear and leading people to distrust their government, “he said.
The overthrown government operated “the weakest system in the world,” he said, referring to the pervasive corruption.
In contrast, he said, the Taliban are eradicating corruption and bringing security across the country.
âWe try to solve people’s problems as well as possible. We work overtime in every department, âsaid Akhund.
He added that the group had formed committees to try to resolve the economic crisis and pay salaries to government employees who have been largely blank for months.
UN officials have warned of a humanitarian crisis that will drive millions of Afghans deeper into poverty and starvation, and more and more people on the verge of starvation.
Afghanistan has been hit by one of the worst famines in decades, and the economic collapse has left many people unable to afford food.
Akhund urged people to pray for an end to the famine, which he called “a trial of God after people rebelled against him.”
The United States and other countries have refused to recognize the Taliban government until it includes more of the ethnic and political spectrum of Afghanistan, as well as women, and guarantees women’s rights.
All ministers in the current cabinet come from the ranks of the Taliban.
The Taliban did not completely ban women from the public as they did during their previous rule in the late 1990s.
But they have ordered most female government employees not to come to work and not let secondary girls return to school even though they allowed younger girls.
Akhund rejected the claims, saying the government had members from all over the country.
He insisted that the Islamic Emirate, as the Taliban call their government, âsaved the dignity of womenâ.