Putting his weapon in front of him, in a dramatic contrast to his statements, a Taliban leader called on foreign countries to recognize the movement and come to Afghanistan with money, not weapons.
The new Taliban governor in Helmand, Talib Mawlawi, who spent years as a commander fighting the British in Sangin, greeted the visitors with an assault rifle lying on his desk, though he insisted that the time for fighting was over.
He also called in a letter to the British and the rest of NATO countries to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate leaders of the country and to visit Afghanistan, carrying money and not weapons.
“Win our hearts”
“We faced each other in battle, we didn’t get to know each other in normal times,” said Mawlawi, a commander from Helmand who fought with the Taliban the first time the group took control of Afghanistan. “Now you can win our hearts and make us happy if you recognize this government,” he added.
It is noteworthy that Mollavi spent most of the past twenty years fighting for control of Helmand.
At the time, the Taliban were accused of targeting civilians, including a senior journalist in Helmand, Elias Dayi, who was killed in a bomb blast last fall.
It is noteworthy that the Taliban movement took control of the capital, Kabul, weeks ago, after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, and the withdrawal of US and NATO forces from the country was completed, while the movement controlled the equipment and weapons of the Afghan forces estimated at millions of dollars.
Since taking control of the government, humanitarian organizations have stopped their aid to Afghanistan, while the movement has tried to appeal to the international community to keep aid, and to make promises not to attack civilians, or commit any violations against women and minorities.