Iran Press TV

Taliban pledges to protect infrastructural projects in Afghanistan

Iran Press TV

Tue Nov 29, 2016 5:21PM

The Taliban militant group has pledged to protect Afghanistan's infrastructural projects worth billions of dollars that have been stalled for years due to the ongoing militancy across the war-ravaged country.

The group said in a surprise statement on Tuesday that it "backs all national projects which are in the interest of the people and result in the development and prosperity of the nation."

The Taliban are "also committed to safeguarding" the projects, the statement added.

The group said a gas pipeline project and a multi-billion dollar copper mine known as Mes Aynak south of the capital Kabul are among projects that Taliban would protect. The militant group said it was also ready to protect highways and railways.

The Taliban militants have been repeatedly accused of launching violent attacks against aid workers and infrastructural projects.

Shahhussain Murtazawi, a spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, has expressed skepticism about the pledge.

"They inflicted more than two billion dollars worth of damage to public and private properties and infrastructure during two months of their violent campaign in Afghanistan," Murtazawi said, referring to the Taliban's fall offensive in 2016.

"How could we trust them now? They have to prove their promises in action," the spokesman added.

Decades of war have destroyed much of Afghanistan's basic infrastructure and fostered a climate of insecurity. The violence has also forced millions of Afghans to become refugees.

The administration of President Ghani has pledged to carry out an ambitious series of reforms to revive the economy and attract investment. However, insecurity and violence remain a serious challenge.

Afghanistan has been gripped by insecurity since the United States and its allies invaded the country as part of Washington's so-called war on terror in 2001. Many parts of the country remain plagued by militancy despite the presence of foreign troops. The Taliban militants were removed from power after the invasion, but they continue their militant activities and have attempted to overrun several provinces over the past months.

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