In his first news conference since the Taliban formed its new cabinet for Afghanistan last week, Foreign Minister Amir Khan Mutaqi said the Taliban remain committed to a promise made last year. That promise: the group will not allow militants to use Afghanistan to launch attacks on foreign countries.
“According to our promises, messages and statements, Afghan soil won’t be used against anyone,” Muttaqi said Tuesday. He also gave the first confirmation of the new Cabinet’s promise to honor a deal the Taliban reached with the United States last year.
Under the deal, the Taliban made a promise to break ties with al-Qaida and other militant groups.
Muttaqi’s comments come as countries around the world are waiting and watching to see how the Taliban will govern Afghanistan after the United States completed its withdrawal from the country. The U.S. and its allies have pushed the Taliban to not bring back the harsh rule last seen in the 1990s.
“We want a positive relationship with the international community,” Muttaqi said. “We want a bilateral relationship, we want a good relationship.”
However, he warned other countries to not interfere in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.
“We ask them that they shouldn’t bring Afghans under pressure,” Muttaqi said. “Pressure policy didn’t work in the last 20 years and it won’t work in the future.”
Muttaqi’s comments come at odds with new U.S. intelligence. According to said intelligence, al-Qaida may be only a year or two away from getting itself back in Afghanistan, posing a threat to the U.S.
Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, who leads the Defense Intelligence Agency, gave the one-to-two-year estimate while speaking at the Intelligence & National Security Summit.
His one-to-two-year estimate came as Secretary of State Antony Blinken spent the second straight day testifying in front of Congress, this time in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The video above highlights excerpts of his testimony.
Meanwhile, Central Intelligence Agency Deputy Director David Cohen said the U.S. already had detected “some of the indications of some potential movement of al-Qaida to Afghanistan.”