Mujahid chats to Amu TV, claims al-Qaeda leader’s death in Kabul ‘unconfirmed’

Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s spokesperson, has said that all statements and declarations issued over the Taliban’s governance in the past two years are untrue and far from reality.

In an interview with Amu TV’s Ayam show, Mujahid said that the killing of former al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was targeted in Kabul, has not been confirmed so far and that his presence in Kabul remains an allegation.

Mujahid asserted that al-Qaeda is not present in Afghanistan and that the Taliban leaders have no ties with the group.

He also stated that IS-K (known as Daesh) is being suppressed by the Taliban in the country.

The spokesman claimed that the majority of Afghanistan’s population is Pashtun and therefore most of its cabinet members belong to this ethnic group.

“We must say that, based on statistics, the majority of our nation is Pashtun. We deal based on Islam, citizenship, and the [Islamic] Sharia principles, not on ethnic bias,” Mujahid said.

Regarding the education ban on women and girls, Mujahid said that the Taliban wants to bring reforms to the education process in Afghanistan, however, they have been focused on security and economic issues, which have hindered their ability to implement changes over the past two years.

Mujahid added that the Taliban members had different approaches towards women’s and girls’ education, however, he clarified that the decision to close schools was made by the Taliban’s leader.

Meanwhile, the Taliban has called on the international community not to link humanitarian assistance to political issues.

Mujahid said that if the international community failed to do so, Afghanistan under Taliban rule doesn’t want such assistance.

“The money that comes for aid purposes should not be linked to political matters… If they tie it to political issues, we don’t want their aid at all,” he added.

In reaction to Mujahid’s comments, a resident of Kabul, who wished to remain anonymous, highlighted the economic hardships faced by the population “while he appears in a luxurious vehicle and gets money.”

The Taliban swept into power in August 2021 and so far the international community has not recognized their caretaker government.

Zabihullah Mujahid, however, said that the world will eventually be forced to recognize the Taliban.

“[The Taliban’s] general amnesty [announcement] is obviously a lie, indeed, it is actually like hostage-taking of the people of Afghanistan as well as the rights and freedoms of Afghan women and girls,” said one women activist.

Mujahid’s comments come just days after the UN Security Council criticized the Taliban for their “discriminatory policies” against Afghan women and girls.

The UN Security Council members emphasized the importance of respecting human rights, particularly women’s rights, as a crucial aspect of engaging with the Taliban.