EXCLUSIVE: Taliban thanks PAS for well wishes, calls human rights accusations ‘propaganda’

Leadership calls on M’sian govt to strengthen ‘fraternal bonds’

KUALA LUMPUR : The Taliban has welcomed PAS’ congratulatory gesture and its coming to the defence of the Islamist organisation, which recently reassumed power over Afghanistan.

The movement’s leadership also called on the Malaysian government to strengthen “fraternal bonds” by helping Afghanistan under its new rule to rise after years of conflict.

In exclusive comments to The Vibes, Taliban spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi said that prior to this, he was not aware of any felicitations from PAS leaders.

“I personally am not aware of any message by members of PAS, but we welcome and thank all for showing solidarity with the people of Afghanistan in this time of transition,” Qahar said.

Claiming that reports and concerns about the Taliban’s human rights track record are merely propaganda, he said Malaysians should not harbour reservations towards the newly formed Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

“We would like to assure all people of Malaysia and the world that they should not have any reservations about the Islamic Emirate,” he said in his response to The Vibes.

“There has been vitriolic propaganda against us for far too long which has given an impression that we are involved in human rights violations, all of which are nothing more than fabrications,” he added.

Qahar, also a member of the Taliban’s Cultural Commission, appeared in front of the global media for the first time as a translator during the Taliban’s press conference chaired by leader Zabihullah Mujahid on August 24, following the takeover of Kabul. 

He gained global visibility for the Taliban after an Al Jazeera interview with journalist Charlotte Bellis was uploaded to social media on August 23.

On August 15, the media had reported that Taliban fighters had not only secured nearly all of Afghanistan but also surrounded the capital Kabul.

EXCLUSIVE: Taliban thanks PAS for well wishes, calls human rights accusations ‘propaganda’
Taliban spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi says that harsh punishments such as amputations and stoning are reserved for criminals in the most extreme cases, with the intention to deter crime. – @FabianEberhard Twitter pic

American forces merely maintained a presence at Kabul International Airport, helping Afghan and western evacuees flee the country.

A few days after the Taliban’s takeover, Mohd Khalil Abdul Hadi, chairman of PAS’ International Affairs and External Relations Committee, posted a congratulatory message to the group on Twitter, only to delete it two hours later.

Khalil is the son of PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang. 

On August 25, Hadi himself defended the Taliban against criticisms, stating that the organisation has now changed, and urged Malaysians not to fall for western media “propaganda”.

Towards supremacy of Islamic law

On ties between Putrajaya and Afghanistan’s “future administration’, Qahar expressed hope that it will be cordial, as the war-torn nation will need all the help it can get to rebuild itself.

“Both nations have a lot to offer one another and it would be in the interest and beneficial for both countries to strengthen our fraternal bonds,” he explained.

Asked about the Taliban’s approach to governance as well as its style of imposing law and order, in view of its strict religious bent, Qahar stressed there are differences between Afghanistan and Malaysia. 

Commenting on Malaysia practising a hybrid system of civil and shariah laws, he said Afghanistan aims to have Islamic law as paramount.

“The difference between Malaysia and Afghanistan is that our country is 99.7% Muslim,” he said.

“Our people have rejected all forms of political systems and have given unparalleled sacrifices for the supremacy of Islamic law.

“We fought against the British empire, the Soviet Union and the United States-led occupiers for this exact cause,” Qahar said.

While general discussions concerning the application of shariah law focus on hardline punishments, he reasoned that such discussions are misleading as shariah principles cover other aspects as well.

“Shariah is an entire way of life that protects the lives, wealth, and dignity of people, that advances economic and scientific development, ends usury and other forms of societal injustices, encourages diplomatic and people-to-people dialogue, and promotes international peace and prosperity,” he added.

With regards to harsh punishments such as amputations and stoning, Qahar said these are reserved for criminals in the most extreme cases, with the intention to deter crime.

By : Arjun Mohanakrishnan – THE VIBES

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