KABUL, Sep 15 (AFP) - The Taliban on Tuesday (Sep 14) thanked the world for pledging hundreds of millions of dollars in emergency aid to Afghanistan, and urged the United States to show "heart" to the impoverished country.
A donor conference in Geneva on Monday ended with pledges of US$1.2 billion in aid for Afghanistan, which was taken over by the hardline group last month in a lightning offensive that took retreating US troops by surprise.
Afghanistan, already heavily dependent on aid, is facing an economic crisis, with the new authorities unable to pay salaries and food prices soaring.
Amir Khan Muttaqi, the regime's acting foreign minister, told a press conference the Taliban would spend donor money wisely and use it to alleviate poverty.
"We thank and welcome the world's pledge for about one billion dollars in aid and ask them to continue their assistance to Afghanistan," Muttaqi said.
"The Islamic Emirate will try its best to deliver this aid to the needy people in a completely transparent manner."
He also asked Washington to show appreciation for the Taliban allowing the US military to complete its troop withdrawal and evacuation of more than 120,000 people last month.
"America is a big country - they need to have a big heart," he said.
Muttaqi said Afghanistan, which is also facing a drought, had already received aid from countries such as Pakistan, Qatar and Uzbekistan, but did not give further details.
He said he had held discussions with China's ambassador on the coronavirus vaccine and other humanitarian causes, with Beijing pledging US$15 million that will be available "soon".