Afghan Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaki said that the interim government - led by the Taliban movement - is close to gaining international recognition, stressing that its decisions are not taken "under pressure from anyone".

In his first interview since returning from talks with Western countries in Oslo, Mottaki told AFP, "In terms of recognition and its reciprocal results, we have made good progress," adding, "We are closer to this goal."

"It is our right, and the right of the Afghans, and we will continue our political struggle and efforts until we get our right," he stressed.

Mottaki said - during the interview that took place in his office in Kabul - that the international community wants to interact with the interim government, indicating that progress has been made in this direction.

The Afghan Acting Foreign Minister confirmed that many embassies opened their doors in Kabul, expecting that some European and Arab embassies would gradually open.

Mottaki stressed that the interim government is working to implement the demands of Western countries, but at the same time he stressed that the decision to reopen public universities this week is part of the Taliban's policy.

He said, "What we are doing in our country is not the result of conditions or pressure from anyone. We do it according to our plan and policy, whether it is in the field of education, the economy or anything else (...) we are progressing according to our policy."

Mottaki also called on Washington to release restrictions on the assets of the Afghan Central Bank, adding, "We hope that this right will be given to Afghans, because it is the right of the vulnerable Afghan people."

In response to international accusations of the interim government of arresting two journalists for several days, Mottaki said, "So far, we have not arrested anyone who opposes the ideology of this regime or this government, and we have not harmed anyone."

The Norwegian capital, Oslo, hosted at the end of last month talks between the interim government led by the Taliban and Western countries, the first on the territory of a Western country, and discussed the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and human rights issues.

Although Norway confirmed that the talks do not constitute any kind of recognition of the interim government led by the Taliban, the latter finds positive steps towards breaking the isolation, especially since several countries have kept their embassies open in Kabul despite their non-recognition of the government, such as Pakistan, Russia, China and Turkey, as announced. The European Union last month restored a "minimum presence" for its staff in Kabul.

Al-Dardari says that the central bank had promised to automatically transfer the money to the local currency, but that did not happen (Reuters - Archive)

dollar ban

The head of the United Nations Development Program in Afghanistan, Abdullah Al-Dardari, said that the organization brought about 135 million dollars into the country and deposited it in the International Bank of Afghanistan, "with a clear promise from the Central Bank that the new money will be automatically converted into the Afghan currency."

He added - during a summit of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists - "that did not happen," and added that the funds are stuck in the bank and development programs cannot be implemented with them.

The country is short of cash, as the Taliban-led interim government banned foreign currencies in a country where the US dollar was common.

International banks are also wary of violating sanctions, making it difficult for the United Nations and aid organizations to get enough aid money in.

United Nations officials and aid organizations said that the United Nations and the World Bank were discussing a possible exchange facility, and Dardari said that this would allow funds related to humanitarian operations to be paid to some mechanism abroad, and then amounts in Afghani could be collected from "the major merchants and mobile phone companies inside Afghanistan."

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