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Taliban offers Merkel ‘warm welcome’ to Afghanistan as it demands Sharia law imposed

3 min read

Angela Merkel heckled during speech in German Bundestag

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Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the former insurgent group – who toppled the Western-backed regime before foriegn troops had even left the country last month – wanted “warm relations” with the EU state. Asked by BILD reporter Paul Ronzheimer how the outgoing German Chancellor would be received, Mr Mujahid said: “We want a completely safe environment here in Afghanistan – one that is accepted by all countries in the world and that heads of state and government believe in.

“They should visit us, and Angela Merkel would be given a particularly warm welcome. We would be really happy to see her.”

He went on to defend the Taliban’s imposition of Sharia law despite it meaning that Ms Merkel’s freedoms would be significantly impeded in the unlikely event that she accepted their invitation.

He explained: “The people in Afghanistan are Muslim. Sharia is the law of the government. That is why people have emphasised this.

“The Afghans fought for it for 40 years, and the war of the last two decades had two goals, among other things: First, to end the presence of the international armed forces.

“Second, to implement Sharia law in Afghanistan.

“The Afghan people have the right to create, implement and live their own laws in accordance with their religious principles and national interests.

“They opted for Sharia law and sacrificed an enormous amount for it.”

Since taking power, the Taliban has tried to soften its image as a bloodthirsty radical Islamist group intent on destroying any rights that women enjoyed previously.

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It has vowed to respect the rights of women “within the framework of Islamic law” – which caused worries that things could go back to the dark days of the 1990s.

During this stint in government the group effectively placed women under house arrest and forbade girls over the age of 10 from going to school.

Mr Mujahid said that there were “big differences between then and now”, as he also pleaded for Western countries to help the Taliban rebuild Afghanistan after decades of war.

He added: “First, we want a good relationship with Germany to develop.

“The Islamic Emirate (of Afghanistan) will be the desired government of the Afghans, and we want the German government to have the best possible diplomatic relations with our new government.

“Second, we would like Germany to support and help us in the humanitarian field as far as the German government can.

“We also need help in healthcare, education, and infrastructure. We believe that the German government can really help us.

“In addition, the German government could encourage its entrepreneurs to come to us and invest in our country.

“We will pave the way for this and ensure their safety. The German government can help in various areas so that our country continues to develop and prosperity grows.

“So Germany plays an important role. We are counting on that, and Germany shouldn’t worry.”

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg

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