An assembly of religious leaders from across Afghanistan has appealed for international recognition of the Taliban government and the release of overseas assets that have been frozen by Western governments.
The supreme leader of the Taliban-run administration, Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, attended the event, known as a Loya Jirga, or grand assembly, in Kabul. At the gathering, which opened on Thursday, Akhundzada stressed the need for the implementation of Sharia, or Islamic laws, in order to ensure justice and investment, as well as safeguarding Afghanistan's freedom.
At the assembly on Friday, the leader of the caretaker administration said Afghans had expelled the occupying forces from their country to establish an Islamic system, and now "we have an Islamic system and this is the responsibility of religious scholars to implement Islamic laws".
"The establishment of an Islamic system in Afghanistan, which is the outcome of more than four decades of sacrifices and suffering of our people, has ensured justice, peace and security in the country, and deserves support and we not only support but also defend it as our religion and national obligation," an 11-point resolution issued at the end of the three-day meeting stated.
Amina Khan, director of the Centre for Afghanistan, Middle East and Africa at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, said the international community, including countries in the region, should be "engaging with the Taliban on a more robust basis".
"August will mark one year of the Taliban's presence in power as the political dispensation in Afghanistan," she said. "And they felt that they've delivered on certain terms, such as improving security in the country."
The assembly of religious leaders and elders highlighted the need for the outside world to provide economic assistance to Afghanistan, including actions to release the $9.5 billion assets frozen abroad, she said. The bulk of the assets are held in the United States.
Salman Bashir, a former Pakistani ambassador to China, said: "The de facto government of Afghanistan is within its rights to seek international recognition and the return of frozen assets".
Xinhua contributed to the story.