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Taliban fighters hold Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan flags on the first anniversary of the fall of Kabul.

REUTERS/Ali Khara

Jihadists, liberators, or administrators of Afghanistan? The Taliban respond.

The Taliban celebrated the anniversary of their return to power in Afghanistan last week.

They assembled at Bagram airbase, the last military outpost of the 20-year American occupation. Flags were hoisted, leftover US military equipment was displayed, and Taliban soldiers wore uniforms shed by fleeing forces loyal to the former government. Speeches were made, and the Quran was recited.

But not much was said about the continued suppression of women, the escalating violence, or the near-universal poverty Afghans find themselves in today.

So, where does the regime stand, and why should the international community trust the Taliban despite this dismal record? We interviewed Suhail Shaheen, the group's international spokesperson and head of its political office in Qatar. (He’s technically also the UN ambassador, but the world body doesn't recognize the Taliban as the legitimate Afghan government.)

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