The Taliban, a terrorist group that has massacred the Afghan people, oppressed women, executed civilians, mandated sharia law, and harbored al Qaeda, seeks the world's "mercy and compassion," one of the group's leaders in a rare interview told the Associated Press.
Amir Khan Muttaqi, who became the foreign minister of Afghanistan after President Joe Biden's disastrous withdrawal of American troops from the country, told the AP that the Taliban has no problem with the United States and wants amicable relations with the entire world.
Muttaqi also asked the United States and other countries to release $10 billion in funds that were frozen after the Taliban took power on Aug. 15.
"Sanctions against Afghanistan would … not have any benefit," Muttaqi said.
The United Nations reported on Aug. 25 that it had received "harrowing and credible reports" that the Taliban had committed summary executions of civilians since the takeover. Human Rights Watch reported in November that the Taliban has killed or kidnapped more than 100 officials who served under the U.S.-backed former regime.
Muttaqi admitted that the Taliban has imposed restrictions on girls' education and on allowing women to work. He said, however, that the group has changed since its 1996-2001 rule of Afghanistan, when it banned women from schools and jobs.
At the time it also massacred civilians, starved the Afghan people, committed genocide against minorities, sold women into sexual slavery, and protected al Qaeda, the group that perpetrated the 9/11 attacks.
Muttaqi pushed back against Gen. Frank McKenzie, the top U.S. military commander in the Middle East, who said that al Qaeda has grown in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover.
"If McKenzie has any proof, he should provide it," Muttaqi said. "With confidence, I can say that this is a baseless allegation."
Muttaqi finished the interview by expressing hope that "America will slowly, slowly change its policy toward Afghanistan" and "choose good relations" with the Taliban.