KABUL, Jan 19: The Taliban's prime minister called Wednesday on Muslim nations to be the first to officially recognize the Afghan government that seized power in August. "I call on Muslim countries to take the lead and recognize us officially. Then I hope we will be able to develop quickly," Mohammad Hassan Akhund told a conference in Kabul to address the country's massive economic crisis.
No country has yet recognized the Taliban government, with Western nations watching to see how the hardline Islamists -- notorious for human rights abuses during their first stint in power between 1996 and 2001 -- will rule this time around. But nations face the delicate task of channeling aid to the stricken economy without propping up the regime, with many members of what the Taliban call their interim government on an international sanctions list.
"We do not want anyone's help. We don't want it for the officials," Akhund said, referring to recognition of the government. "We want it for our public," he said, adding that the Taliban had fulfilled all necessary conditions by restoring peace and security.