Taliban official wanted by US makes rare public appearance

Kabul: The Taliban acting interior minister designated a terrorist by the US said in a rare public appearance Saturday that security police guilty of misconduct in Afghanistan were being penalised after a string of abuse allegations.

For the first time, photos showing Sirajuddin Haqqani's face were published by official Taliban government channels. That contrasted with an October appearance, when photos of the influential and reserved figure were blurred.

Haqqani was photographed attending the Saturday graduation ceremony of the first class to complete police training since the Taliban assumed control of Afghanistan.

Around 377 personnel, both male and female, graduated during the ceremony.

The event marked the first time Haqqani has given statements to the media since being named interior minister.

Haqqani said in a speech at the ceremony that Taliban security personnel who committed crimes against Afghan civilians were undergoing criminal proceedings.

Civilians have complained of abuse by Taliban militants in house-to-house raids and at checkpoints.

In January a young woman was shot to death by a Taliban security police at a checkpoint. He was later arrested.

Haqqani acknowledged that some misconduct happens" among former Taliban fighters who made the shift from fighting a war to policing the streets and added they were undergoing training.

Haqqani said the international community should not see his government as a threat and that foreign aid was needed to revive the country.

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