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Exclusive | Afghanistan Transitioned ‘Comfortably’: Taliban Interior Minister Haqqani on 1 Year of US Troops' Pull-Out

By: Manoj Gupta

CNN-News18

Last Updated: August 02, 2022, 13:45 IST

New Delhi, India

Taliban fighters in armoured vehicles take part in a military street parade in Herat. (File Photo: AFP)

Taliban fighters in armoured vehicles take part in a military street parade in Herat. (File Photo: AFP)

Just two days before Zawahari’ death, Haqqani network chief and Afghanistan interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani in an interview to CNN-News18 reprimanded US for its ‘shameful actions' in freezing Afghan people’s assets worth $7 billion

As the one-year anniversary of US troops’ pull-out from Afghanistan nears, Taliban interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, in an exclusive interview to CNN-News18, said Afghan people have made the transition “comfortably, without any hitch”, and the US should “acknowledge this”.

The US army had withdrawn its troops from Afghanistan last August, ending 20 years of war, which was started to bring Al Qaeda leaders behind the September 11, 2001 attacks on World Trade Center to justice. The US announced today that it has killed Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in a drone strike.

Just two days before Zawahari’ death, Haqqani network chief and Afghanistan interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani in an interview to CNN-News18 pointed out “shameful actions of the US” in freezing Afghan assets worth $7 billion. “It is inappropriate on part of the US, though we have promised all kind of support to the US to defreeze the legitimate assets of Afghan people. We have not seen any lawful and just decision on the issue,” Haqqani said.

News agency Reuters had reported in February that the US government will free half of the $7 billion in frozen Afghan reserves held in the United States to aid the Afghan people without providing the Taliban access to the funds.

A multi-step plan calls for the other half of the funds to remain in the United States, subject to ongoing litigation by US victims of terrorism, including relatives of those who died in the September 11, 2001, hijacking attacks, sources had told Reuters.

The US government will work to ensure access to $3.5 billion of those assets for “the benefit of the Afghan people and for Afghanistan’s future,” said one of the sources.

Meanwhile, Zawahiri, who assumed the leadership of al-Qaeda after the death of bin Laden, was killed in a drone strike carried out by CIA on Saturday evening at a house in Kabul where he was sheltering to reunite with his family, US President Joe Biden said on Monday, declaring that justice has been delivered and this terrorist is no more.

A Taliban spokesman described the US operation to kill Zawahiri as a clear violation of international principles. “Such actions are a repetition of the failed experiences of the past 20 years and are against the interests of the United States of America, Afghanistan and the region,” the spokesman was quoted as saying by the BBC.

(With inputs from agencies)

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first published:August 02, 2022, 13:35 IST
last updated:August 02, 2022, 13:45 IST