An assembly of religious leaders from across Afghanistan has appealed for international of recognition of the Taliban government and the release of assets held abroad that have been frozen by Western governments.

The supreme leader of the Taliban-run administration, Haibatullah Akhundzada, attended the event – known as Loya Jirga, or grand assembly – in the capital Kabul. At 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 gathering on Friday, the leader of the caretaker administration said that 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,” a 11-point resolution issued at the end of the three-day meeting stated.

The resolution read that it supports the decision of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan that “Afghan soil won’t be used against any country and Afghanistan also won’t allow anyone to interfere in its internal affairs”.

Amina Khan, director of the Centre for Afghanistan, Middle East and Africa at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, said the international community, including nations 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 US.

Salman Bashir, a former Pakistani ambassador to China, said: “The de facto government of Afghanistan is within its rights to seek international recognition and return of frozen assets”.

Bashir said the international community needs to do all it can to assist Afghanistan become a normal country.

“Reciprocally, it (the Taliban) has to give solemn assurances to abide by established rules of interstate conduct and international law and conventions including on human rights,” he said.

Cleric Mujib-ul Rahman Ansari said the resolution urged the international community to give official recognition to the Taliban, Afghan broadcaster Radio Azadi reported.

“We call on the world, neighboring countries, the United Nations, global organizations, specifically on the Islamic countries and agencies to recognize the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan as a legitimate government,” the resolution was cited in a report by Ariana News, a news network in Afghanistan.

The Loya Jirga discussed issues ranging from stabilizing security to strengthening national unity. The meeting marked the first of such happening since the Taliban’s takeover 11 months ago.

The caretaker government’s chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the state-run Mili Television that the Loya Jirga brought together the people of Afghanistan, adding that even representatives of Iran and Pakistan-based Afghan refugees had been allowed to attend the event.

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