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Taliban Cancel 9/11 Govt Inaugural Ceremony After 'Pressure From Doha'

Members of Taliban political office Abdul Latif Mansoor (R), Shahabuddin Delawar (C) and spokesperson Suhail Shaheen in Moscow, Russia in July. (Reuters)

Members of Taliban political office Abdul Latif Mansoor (R), Shahabuddin Delawar (C) and spokesperson Suhail Shaheen in Moscow, Russia in July. (Reuters)

A Taliban source told CNN News18: "We have postponed the ceremony to unknown time and date."

The Taliban have postponed their decision to inaugurate their newly-appointed interim government of Afghanistan, which was announced on September 7, on September 11 – the 20th anniversary of terrorist attacks in the US, sources told CNN-News18.

The insurgent group is under tremendous pressure from its allies, they said.

A Taliban source told  CNN News18: “We have postponed the ceremony to unknown time and date."

The acquiescence comes hours after Russia told the Doha peace negotiation team that it will not participate in the inauguration event if it is held on the 9/11 anniversary.

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According to reports, the Taliban had invited China, Russia, Iran, Turkey and Qatar for the inaugural ceremony in order to pave way for Afghanistan’s new foreign policy. So far, no other country has informed the Taliban about their inability to attend the event.

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Earlier, Russia had accepted the invite. The speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament had said that Russia would be represented at the inauguration by ambassador-level officials, the RIA news agency reported.

The Taliban’s decision to not go ahead with the event - a move being seen as ‘inhuman’ by many - was apparently taken under pressure being built by the USA and other NATO allies on the Qatari government, sources said.

Earlier in the day, while speaking to China’s state-run Global Times, Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen sought to dispel criticism that the interim government announced by the Taliban was not inclusive, saying that it is temporary and a new government will be formed after reaching an agreement with other politicians. He said the Taliban are in talks with other Afghan politicians and if an agreement is reached, people outside the current cabinet will have the chance to get high-ranking jobs in the new government.

We believe in the inclusiveness of the government, Shaheen said, adding that the formal government may be set up this month or next month. After relevant issues are settled, the Taliban hopes to invite high-level delegations from other countries to visit Afghanistan, he said.

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first published:September 10, 2021, 22:38 IST