Taliban Say U.S. Violating Pact, Call for End of Sanctions
(Bloomberg) -- The Taliban accused the U.S. of violating last year’s peace deal signed in Doha, and called on the Biden administration to immediately lift sanctions against senior members of the Taliban’s new cabinet.
Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is on the FBI’s most wanted list for terrorism, and his family are “part of the Islamic Emirate,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said in a statement Thursday. “Similarly, in the Doha Agreement all officials of the Islamic Emirate without any exception were part of the interaction with the U.S. and should have been removed from the UN and U.S. blacklists, a demand which still remains valid.”
Haqqani, who was named Afghanistan’s new acting interior minister, is among two-thirds of the newly unveiled cabinet members who are on UN or U.S. sanctions lists. That’s likely to complicate any moves by the U.S. to cooperate with the Taliban, particularly as President Joe Biden has urged the militants to cut all ties with terrorist groups.
“We urge that these incorrect policies be immediately reversed through diplomatic interactions,” Mujahed added.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said the Biden administration is watching the new government and “any legitimacy, any support, will have to be earned.”
New Taliban Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hassan is also sanctioned by the UN along with his deputies, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Mullah Abdul Salam Hanafi.
Baradar has long been the public face of the Taliban. He oversaw and signed the peace deal with the Trump administration in Doha, Qatar in February last year that paved the way for the exit of American and NATO troops from Afghanistan. According to the terms of that deal, the U.S. should have removed any sanctions on the Taliban by Aug. 27, 2020.
The Afghan central bank on Thursday asked all banks in the country to freeze the accounts of all officials who worked for the U.S.-backed government of former president Ashraf Ghani. The banks were instructed to share the list of such accounts with Da Afghanistan Bank, according to an order signed by acting central bank head Mohammad Idris that was seen by Bloomberg News.
Ghani and several top officials fled Afghanistan soon after the Taliban took over Kabul on Aug. 15. He later apologized for fleeing the country and leaving Afghans without stability.
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