KABUL: The Taliban held their first official news conference in Kabul on Tuesday since the shock seizure of the city, forgive everyone while declaring they wanted peaceful relations with other countries and would respect the rights of women within the framework of Islamic law. “We don’t want any internal or external enemies,” the movement’s main spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said.
Mujahid, who until now had been a shadowy figure issuing statements on behalf of the militants, said women would be allowed to work and study and “will be very active in society but within the framework of Islam”.
The Taliban would not seek retribution against former soldiers and members of the Western-backed government, he said, insisting that “everyone is forgiven.” He added that the movement was granting an amnesty for former Afghan government soldiers as well as contractors and translators who worked for international forces. “Nobody is going to harm you, nobody is going to knock on your doors,” he said.
Mujahid stressed that Afghanistan would not allow itself to harbour anyone targeting other nations. That was a key demand in a deal the militants struck with the Trump administration in 2020 that led to the ultimate US withdrawal under current President Joe Biden. He said private media could continue to be free and independent in Afghanistan, adding the Taliban were committed to the media within its cultural framework.
Mujahid’s conciliatory tone contrasted sharply with comments by Afghan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who declared himself the “legitimate caretaker president” and vowed that he would not bow to Kabul’s new rulers. Earlier, The Taliban declared an “amnesty” across Afghanistan and urged women to join its government on Tuesday, trying to calm nerves across the tense capital city of Kabul that only the day before saw chaos at its airport as people tried to flee the Taliban rule.