Western leaders believe the Taliban can be pressured into abandoning its hardline agenda because it needs foreign aid.
The founder and former head of the Taliban’s political bureau, Sayed Muhammad Tayyab Agha, has urged the armed group to involve people of different ethnicities when forming a new government, days after the Afghan group said the formation of a new government was in its final stages.
Agha also said the group should include the youth, in particular, even if they had worked with the former US-backed government.
He also called on the international community – especially countries from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation – as well as the United Nations and the United States to recognise the new government.
Agha, who served as political commissioner under former leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, asked the international community not to isolate Afghanistan.
Agha’s remarks come two days after the US withdrew the last of its forces from the country after 20 years of war.
The Taliban has said it wants to form an “inclusive” government and that it has been talking to members of former governments to encourage them to join a new administration. It has also pledged to respect human rights and women’s freedoms “within Islamic law”.
However, tens of thousands of Afghans have desperately tried to flee the country after the Taliban took control of Kabul on August 15.
Many Afghans fear a return to the Taliban’s brutal rule between 1996 and 2001, when women’s rights were severely curtailed and the group meted out strict punishments in line with its harsh interpretation of Islamic law.
The new government will face a range of challenges, including potential economic collapse as foreign countries and institutions withhold aid and funds, and scrutiny and pressure from the international community over its human rights record.
It also faces security threats – notably from the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K), an ISIL affiliate that claimed responsibility for a deadly suicide bombing at Kabul airport on Thursday.