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In apparent contradiction to its own past methods, the Taliban is calling for “restraint” and a “peaceful means” of resolution to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In a statement posted by Abdul Qahar Balkhi, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Twitter on Feb. 25, 2022, the Taliban government, now known as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, said it was keeping in line with its foreign policy of “neutrality.”
The statement was also posted on the official website for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine and expresses concern about real possibility of civilian casualties.
The Islamic Emirate calls for restraint by both parties. All sides need to desist from taking positions that could intensify violence.
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, in line with its foreign policy of neutrality, calls on both sides of the conflict to resolve the crisis through dialogue and peaceful means.
The Islamic Emirate also calls on parties to the conflict to pay attention to safeguarding the lives of Afghan students and migrants in Ukraine.
The Taliban took over Kabul in August 2021, and has since ruled over a country that is facing a myriad of humanitarian and economic crises, including widespread starvation. According to one report, more than 1,600 civilians died from violence from the beginning of 2021 until July, as the Taliban insurgency swept through Afghanistan. These numbers are likely much higher now. The regime continues to commit human rights violations, particularly against women and girls.
The Taliban has billed itself a neutral party. But after Afghanistan was invaded by the Soviet Union in 1979 through the 1980s, the Taliban emerged from infighting within the mujahideen, the latter being armed fighters who resisted the Soviet invasion.
We therefore rate this claim a “Correct Attribution.”
“Afghanistan: Record Civilian Casualties in 2021, UN Reports.” BBC News, 26 July 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-57967960. Accessed 25 Feb. 2022.
“Afghanistan: Taliban Abuses Cause Widespread Fear.” Human Rights Watch, 23 Sept. 2021, https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/09/23/afghanistan-taliban-abuses-cause-widespread-fear. Accessed 25 Feb. 2022.
Ellis, Sam. “The Taliban, Explained.” Vox, 11 Nov. 2021, https://www.vox.com/videos/2021/11/11/22776772/taliban-afghanistan-mujahideen-history-takeover. Accessed 25 Feb. 2022.
“Millions of Afghans on Verge of Starvation as Drought, Cold Compound Crisis.” NBC News, 31 Jan. 2022, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/afghanistan-starvation-un-warning-humanitarian-crisis-rcna13804. Accessed 25 Feb. 2022.
"Statement Concerning Crisis in Ukraine." Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan. https://mfa.gov.af/en/statement-concerning-crisis-in-ukraine/. Accessed 25 Feb. 2022.