After thanking the United Nations and other donor countries for pledging some $1.2 billion in humanitarian aid on Tuesday, the Taliban-based Islamic Emirate regime went on to ask the United States to show its ''big heart'' with a substantial donation as well.
''We thank and welcome the world's pledge for about one billion dollars in aid and ask them to continue their assistance to Afghanistan,'' regime Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said in an article published by the AFP news agency. ''The Islamic Emirate will try its best to deliver this aid to the needy people in a completely transparent manner.''
He then asked the U.S. to show its appreciation to the Taliban for allowing the mass evacuation of more than 120,000 U.S. citizens, other foreign nationals and Afghan refugees since the Taliban took over the country on Aug. 14 with the fall of Kabul, the capital.
''America is a big country — they need to have a big heart,'' he said in the article.
On Saturday, U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths said the money amassed by the international organization and donor countries is ''an opportunity'' to lay out the needs of Afghans and allow the country to partner with the agency to meet those needs.
''I went to talk to them, and I said, 'What do you want?' Two-thirds of those we spoke to wanted to go back home. One-third still didn't trust the Taliban, that they would be treated properly back home,'' he said. ''For the two-thirds who wanted to go back home, all they needed was the price of transport and some help to repair damages to their houses and their community.
''Money well spent, you would imagine, if we want to stabilize the region and if we want to enable people to stay in Afghanistan instead of fleeing to neighboring countries and beyond,'' Griffiths said.
He added that the Taliban assured him that they would observe the rights of women in the country, although the organization has treated them badly in the past, and reports are still coming out of beatings and other retribution to those who helped U.S. forces during the 20 years of war there.
''What they said to me was that 'we promise that the rights of women and girls will be respected' — subject, they added, 'to the religion and culture of Afghanistan.' Now, this is a work in progress, and we've been here before,'' he said. ''And so, we need to have a lot more discussion in the days to come, in the weeks to come about what that really means. And that's very important for the people of Afghanistan, but it's also important for the international community.''
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