Taliban supreme leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada said on Wednesday that Afghan soil will not be used to launch attacks against other countries, and he asked the international community to not interfere in Afghanistan's internal affairs.
The Taliban say they are adhering to an agreement they signed with the U.S. in 2020 — before retaking power — in which they promised to fight terrorists. Since their takeover last year, they have repeatedly said Afghanistan would not be used as a launching pad for attacks against other countries.
“We assure our neighbours, the region and the world that we will not allow anyone to use our territory to threaten the security of other countries. We also want other countries not to interfere in our internal affairs,” Akhundzada said in an address ahead of the Eid al-Adha holiday.
The Taliban were ousted by a U.S.-led coalition in 2001 for harbouring Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the 9/11 attacks in the United States. The religious group captured power again in mid-August, during the chaotic last weeks of the U.S. and NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The international community has been wary of any recognition or cooperation with the Taliban, especially after they restricted the rights of women and minorities.
Akhundzada, the spiritual chief of the Taliban, has remained a reclusive figure. He rose to become the leader of the Islamist movement in a swift transition of power after a 2016 U.S. drone strike killed his predecessor, Mullah Akhtar Mansour.