Hashmat Ghani, the brother of former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, told NewsMadura on Sunday that he had “accepted” the Taliban to avoid instability, and had chosen to stay in the country to help in the transition period, but the Taliban had not offered. group are “support”.
Mr Ghani told NewsMadura these were “very different things” and that his acceptance was to spare his country further political and economic troubles – which he said were underlined by the “devastating” departures of business leaders – after the Taliban took control.
“I have accepted the Taliban, but don’t support them… ‘support’ is a very strong word. What happens once they are in charge… that remains to be seen,” said Mr Ghani, a prominent businessman and leader Afghan nomadic Kochi population, said.
“Will there be a massacre (after the remaining US troops leave)? I don’t think so. They (the Taliban) have shown courtesy to Afghan companies. They keep saying they will allow women to work, we hearing this from senior leaders… we hope they will,” he said.
He also said it is “important to bridge the gap in Afghan society” – the one between the Taliban’s social and cultural vision and the contemporary world – and called on the educated classes to be open to the idea of to work with the Taliban to improve the economy.
Mr Ghani’s comments come as a video this week apparently showing support for a Taliban presenting itself as a moderate version of the ruthless group that ruled from 1996-2001.
NewsMadura has not been able to independently verify this video.
“They (the Taliban) know security. They can handle that very well, but government is more than security, and that’s where the educated classes can help. I was left behind…to convince the educated and business not to to leave… The departure of business leaders is devastating,” he said.
A 20-year war between the Taliban and US-backed government forces, a drop in local spending due to departing foreign troops and a tumbling currency are fueling an economic crisis in the country.
The Taliban seized control of Kabul last Sunday after a stunningly rapid and relatively bloodless flight from major cities over a 10-day period following the withdrawal of Western troops.
Since then, the hardline Islamist group has tried to project a softer front by, for example, claiming that women will have rights, including education and work, and that the media will be independent.
Taliban members — armed with weapons — went door-to-door in major cities this week, telling witnesses to Reuters news agency and telling people to get back to work. While the visits were organized as part of measures to reinvigorate a battered economy, many told Reuters it was also intended to instill fear in the new leaders.
And violent responses to protests, news that a female Afghan journalist is not allowed to work, and other door-to-door visits to wash out rivals suggest that the “moderate” stance may not last long.
However, Mr Ghani reiterated the Taliban’s pledge to allow human rights, especially for women, and said he hoped senior leaders would act on this once a functioning government is formed.
He also spoke of the US decision to freeze nearly $9.5 billion in Afghan central bank assets; he criticized the move, saying it denied Afghans access to money to rebuild their country.
In a brief but comprehensive discussion with NewsMadura, Mr Ghani also said India – which has so far taken a wait-and-see approach – “will have no choice but to maintain a political relationship” with the Taliban.
He also lashed out at Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who has teamed up with Ahmad Massoud, the son of an anti-Taliban fighter, to lead a military resistance that claims to have recaptured three districts.
Mr Ghani called Mr Saleh an “idiot” and said he had led his brother – against whom he claimed an assassination plot – astray. He also denied reports that he stole money before fleeing.
“I was expelled from Afghanistan…I didn’t even get a chance to take off my slippers and put on my boots…came empty-handed,” Ashraf Ghani was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.
With input from AFP, Reuters