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This article is part of a Fox News Digital series examining the aftermath of the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan a year ago this week.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen has accused the West of a humanitarian crisis that has gripped Afghanistan after the acquisition of the group last year.

“We have our hands tied,” Shaheen told Fox News Digital in an exclusive interview. “We are facing sanctions, embargoes – those countries, including the United States, that are funding projects here in the country and some of these projects have been completed, about 95% are more than that, they have stopped funding those projects, so this too is one of the causes of the increase in poverty in the country “.

“So we have problems, but we have inherited many of those problems from the past and also because of the international community”, he complained, saying that the sanctions against the country also “created the economic situation”.

Shaheen spoke on a number of topics regarding the state of Afghanistan after the Taliban took control following the hasty US military withdrawal, including the protracted humanitarian crisis that gripped the country and security concerns after it. the United States found al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri in Kabul.

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Earlier this month, the United States killed al-Zawahri in a “successful” counter-terrorism operation. Shaheen said an investigation into al-Zawahri’s killing is ongoing and noted that the results of that investigation will be published in good time. He said the Taliban abide by the Doha agreement and do not host terrorist organizations in the country.

“We have given a clear message to all groups or people who have no space in Afghanistan to use it against other countries. If there is anyone hiding in the country. We are watching it and every time we find that we will not allow it this is it. politics, “he said, but then offered the following excuse if terrorists are hiding in the country without the Taliban’s knowledge.” This does not mean that the country’s government is in line with this or agrees with that. “

On Monday, the Taliban celebrated the first anniversary of their takeover after the West-backed government fled and the Afghan army collapsed in the face of insurgent advance.
(AP / Ebrahim Noroozi)

Shaheen blamed the US for poor relations between the two countries after 9/11, saying Afghanistan had condemned the attack and offered to “cooperate” in an investigation before the US attacked. Osama bin Laden planned the attacks while he fled to Afghanistan under the protection of the Taliban, according to the FBI. Shaheen did not disown bin Laden or acknowledge any collaboration with al Qaeda at the time.

However, relations with other countries remain difficult. Shaheen stressed the need for “normal relations” with other countries in order to achieve better economic security and to “normalize” the situation in Afghanistan, but when a response to China’s treatment of the Uyghur Muslim population was called for, Shaheen said simply said “this is the internal question”.

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“We hope China treats all its citizens equally,” he said, adding that the Taliban “does not interfere in any country’s internal affairs.”

The Taliban want to convey an image of open cooperation with the international community in order to bring much-needed aid to Afghanistan’s depressed economy. The United States froze $ 7 billion of assets in the country and halted talks about the possible release of the funds after al-Zawahri’s death.

Suhail Shaheen, spokesperson for the Afghan Taliban, speaks during a joint press conference in Moscow, Russia.  The Taliban broke their silence on Thursday, August 4, 2022, days after a US drone strike killed the leader of al Qaeda in the capital of Afghanistan, acknowledging his killing and pledging to launch an investigation.  Shaheen, the head of the group's political bureau in Doha, Qatar, told The Associated Press in a message on What's App that "The government and leadership were unaware of what is being claimed, nor of any trace there.  The Islamic emirate of Afghanistan reaffirms its commitment to the Doha agreement."

Suhail Shaheen, spokesperson for the Afghan Taliban, speaks during a joint press conference in Moscow, Russia. The Taliban broke their silence on Thursday, August 4, 2022, days after a US drone strike killed the leader of al Qaeda in the capital of Afghanistan, acknowledging his killing and pledging to launch an investigation. Shaheen, the head of the group’s political bureau in Doha, Qatar, told The Associated Press in a what’s App message that “The government and leadership were not aware of what is being claimed, nor of any trace there. The Islamic emirate of Afghanistan reaffirms its commitment to the Doha agreement “.
(Photo AP / Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)

Shaheen insisted that the US should return the money to the “people of Afghanistan”, saying there is “no rational justification” for freezing the money.

“They froze people’s property,” Shaheen said. “Again, we want this property and money not to be frozen because without it, the Bank of Afghanistan is unable to work and function normally, and it is necessary for the normal livelihood of the Afghan people,” including large imports. and export business.

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According to Shaheen, the Taliban did not receive money “directly” from the US government, but rather saw millions in aid spent through the United Nations and humanitarian groups. Some critics fear that the money sent to Afghanistan and the Taliban will end up in terrorist groups, but al-Zawarhi said the Taliban maintain their “commitment” not to let terrorism reproduce in their country.

This commitment includes a new disavowal of terrorism in the country.

“We have given a clear message to all groups or people who have no space in Afghanistan to use it against other countries,” Shaheen propagated. “If there is anyone hiding in the country, we are looking at it. And when we find that we will not allow it. This is a policy.”

He glorified Afghanistan’s ability to bring down “empires and superpowers”, from the UK to the US, saying they were “facing the resistance of the Afghan people”, which was “successful”.

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Part of this is to take the weapons and equipment left over in the wake of the US withdrawal and use them to strengthen the Taliban army “for the protection of our people, our borders.”

“We are keeping them,” Shaheen said bluntly, referring to the equipment now as “the resource of the Afghan people.”

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