New Delhi: The Taliban-appointed permanent representative to the United Nations says the new Afghan government is pressing the international body for recognition and a member’s seat as the lack of legitimacy hurts the country’s economy and diplomacy.
“Why the world is not recognizing us when we have met their conditions,” Suhail Shaheen said in an interview from Doha, Qatar. He said his government has already allowed women and girls to attend universities, one of the international community’s main concerns, and are in talks with the UN.
The lack of international recognition has hurt the Taliban — who took over power last year as U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan exited — shuttering it’s aid-reliant economy and closing it off from the world.
The new regime is unable to appoint new envoys overseas and representatives of the American-backed former Afghan government are either stepping away from their jobs or refusing to represent the Taliban, citing lack of international recognition as a key factor.
The ambassador to China Javid Qaem, a holdover from the previous government, quit his job last month. The envoy in New Delhi, Farid Mamundzai, has also said he would continue to represent the values of the previous government.
Foreign assistance accounted for as much as 40% of the country’s gross domestic product during two decades of U.S. occupation. That foreign aid was abruptly halted after the Taliban took over the country last year. Washington also moved to block the militant group from getting access to some $9 billion of Afghan assets in American and European banks.
The UN, which has recently made a funding plea of a record $5 billion in aid, estimates more than half of the country’s nearly 40 million people face acute hunger, with a million children at risk of dying amid a harsh winter.
While some aid has since come into the country, it’s far from enough to meet the every increasing needs as the country’s economy has all but collapsed.
“In the long term we shouldn’t have to rely on the world to help us,” Shaheen said. Investors from other countries including the U.S. and China have been invited to invest in mineral resources estimated to be around $3 trillion, he added.
The militant group is looking at all options to revive the economy — including weighing the pros and cons of crypto or digital currencies.
The country does have some minimal cryptocurrency transactions carried out by forex traders who currently operate outside of any legal framework.
“This is a new thing for Afghanistan, Shaheen said, adding that the matter “should be studied by our economists or religious scholars” before deciding if they are allowed under Islamic financial practices.- Bloomberg