Taliban leader says in Eid message there ‘will be an Islamic Emirate’

In his annual message ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, Taliban leader Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada on Sunday called on Afghans to “contribute to the redevelopment of our homeland” in order for there to be a prosperous and progressive country “in the shade of an Islamic system.”

“Let us attain this end by moving away from self-interests and pursuit of power, by making Islamic values and national interests our guiding principles, and by rebuilding as a strong and unified nation through forgiveness, reconciliation and compassion towards one another,” he said.

He also stated that once foreign troops have withdrawn – what he called “the end of occupation” – there shall be an “Afghan-inclusive Islamic system.”

Emphasizing that there would be an Islamic Emirate, he said: “This land is the shared home of all Afghans. We must unite upon Islamic injunctions and protect ourselves from all discord and prejudice.

This comes after the Afghan government, international stakeholders and regional countries have all come out in strong support of maintaining a Republic system.

The Taliban leader however went on to state: “The arms of the Islamic Emirate are wide open for all Afghans that have previously stood in opposition to us.

“We are extending our hand of amnesty and affection, and inviting them to join the path of truth. Stubbornness, vindictiveness and enmity will not amount to anything, but conversely, nations attain honor and glory through tolerance, self-restraint and embracing the truth,” he said.

He also said the group considers the withdrawal of US and NATO forces “a good step and strongly urge that all parts of the Doha agreement be implemented.”

He called for the Doha agreement, signed in February last year between the Taliban and the US, to be fully implemented stating that the deal had been violated by the US.

“Contrary to commitments, the remaining prisoners that were set to be released three months after the launch of negotiations have yet to be freed and the names of officials of the Islamic Emirate yet to be removed from sanctions and rewards lists.”

He said the Taliban “stands ready to protect the independence and sovereignty of its homeland at any cost as it has proven over the past two decades.”

He also said the Taliban has “prioritize negotiations” and has “dispatched a powerful negotiation team for these negotiations to move intra-Afghan negotiations forward.

“However, the Kabul administration has repeatedly tried to sabotage the ongoing political process through various means and continues to engage in such activity,” he said.

He acknowledged there was territory under the control of the Taliban and also said the “Islamic Emirate safeguards and supports all public projects, facilities and infrastructure, and strives to strengthen, grow and advance them.”

Akhundzada said the Taliban supports educational processes and has “assigned a special commission for this purpose”.

According to him, harm to civilians and loss of life in war “is upsetting and regrettable”.

It is distressing that civilians are still being killed and harmed in the raids, blind bombardments, artillery strikes and other attacks of the opposing side, which remains utterly unacceptable by any means.

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