Afghan Taliban minister wants good relations, needs more time on girls' education


Afghanistan's foreign minister appealed to the world for good relations on Monday but avoided making firm commitments on girls' education despite international demands to allow all Afghan children to go back to school.

Almost two months after the former Western-backed government collapsed and insurgent forces swept into Kabul, the new Taliban administration has pushed to build relations with other countries to help stave off a catastrophic economic crisis.

"The international community need to start cooperating with us," acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said at an event organised by the Centre for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. "With this, we will be able to stop insecurity and at the same time with this, we will be able to engage positively with the world."

But the Taliban have so far refused to give ground on allowing girls to return to high school, one of the key demands of the international community after a decision last month that schools above the sixth grade would only reopen for boys.

Muttaqi said the Taliban's Islamic Emirate government was moving carefully but had only been in power for a few weeks and could not be expected to complete reforms the international community had not been able to implement in 20 years.

"They had a lot of financial resources and they had a strong international backing and support but at the same time you are asking us to do all the reforms in two months?" he said.