The leader of the Afghan Taliban said his group wants to boost the country’s mining and energy sectors once it regains strength after the NATO-led force fighting them pulls out in 2014.
Interest in economic stability and investment in mining marks a new approach for the resurgent Islamist group, ousted from power by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in 2001.
“Afghanistan has vast arable land, rich mines and high potential of energy resources, therefore, we can make investments,” Mullah Omar said in a lengthy statement carried by the SITE online monitoring service on Sunday.
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Such investments would “wrangle ourselves from the tentacles of poverty, unemployment, backwardness and ignorance,” the reclusive leader said in honor of Eid al-Fitr, Islam’s most important festival, which marks the end of Ramadan and will most likely kick off in Afghanistan on Tuesday.
Omar also said the ongoing battle against the NATO-led forces would lead to an “imminent victory” for the Taliban.