The insurgent group also expressed concern about Pakistan fencing its border (the Durand Line) with Afghanistan, saying that the Afghans had not agreed to it.
Without announcing a date for government formation in the war-torn country, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said the group has been working on it on a war footing and would soon announce the implementation of a new system. He was speaking exclusively to a Pakistan-based Pashto TV station.
He said that since taking control of the government they had started consultations with all stakeholders. “We frequently held negotiations with politicians, scholars, religious and former mujahideen leaders. We had also sent teams to the provinces to meet local leaders and scholars. All this effort was aimed at knowing the plans of others and getting inputs from all segments of society to bring in an inclusive system that would be acceptable to all,” Mujahid said, adding that consultations on government formation were still underway.
Several Taliban leaders, who had held meetings with Afghan leaders, including former president Hamid Karzai and Dr Abdullah Abdullah, the head of Afghan’s High Council for Reconciliation, in Kabul have left for Kandahar to brief Taliban chief Mullah Haibatullah Akhunzada on all developments that had taken place in the last two weeks. “The final decision in this regard will be made by the Taliban chief (Haibatullah Akhunzada),” Mujahid said.
When asked about the group’s meeting in Moscow with the troika-plus, where the US, Russia, China and Pakistan had opposed the implementation of an Islamic emirate in Afghanistan, the Taliban chief spokesman said: “It is for the Afghans to decide on internal matters of the country. We (the Afghan nation) reserve the right to take decisions on whether to change the name of the country, bring in the new flag or keep the previous one, and to introduce a form of government. The world should not be concerned about it and should focus on issues related to them.”
The Taliban, since taking over Kabul, have been using the group’s white flag with religious inscriptions. They have been using it in official settings and displaying them on buildings. Several protests were held in Afghanistan over the flag controversy as the insurgent group had beaten up several people for carrying the national flag after the Taliban seized power.
The fence has been built by Pakistan on the Durand Line, the 2,640-km land border it shares with Afghanistan. It passes through rugged mountains, densely forested valleys and narrow, rocky passages.
The previous Afghan government had strongly opposed the project and several violent incidents had occurred between Pakistani and Afghan forces over the border dispute, resulting in a number of casualties. Pakistan had tried its best to convince the Taliban, during the insurgent group’s previous regime, to accept the Durand Line as a permanent border, but the group’s top leadership had been reluctant to agree.
“The Afghans are unhappy and oppose the fencing. The new Afghan government will announce its position on this issue. The fencing has separated people and divided families. We want to create a secure and peaceful environment on the border so that there should not be any need to create barriers,” Mujahid said.
Mujahid added that the Taliban had already taken control of the three main gates of Kabul airport. “The final evacuation flights continue and charge of the airport will soon be handed over to us. Our reserved force is waiting for the US exit to take over its charge,” he said. “Kabul airport will remain functional. We have the technical knowhow and can run the airfield’s operations,” he claimed.
The Taliban spokesman said the IS-K, the terrorist outfit that had carried out deadly attacks in Kabul on Thursday, did not pose any threat. “The ISIS members in Afghanistan are Afghans. They have not come from Iraq or Syria but have been influenced by the idea of Daesh (ISIS). Their objectives were to wage a war against the foreign troops and bring in an Islamic government. After the exit of foreign troops and the implementation of an Islamic system, they would have no reason to continue their activities,” he said, vowing that they would not allow Afghan soil to be used against any country.