The first official press release of the Taliban says they want peace and vow to protect women's rights in Islamic law.

ByShehryar Makhdoom
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(Image credit: Afghan-media)

Since the conquest of Kabul by the Taliban, the group has had the first press conference in the city. The group has stated that it wants peaceful relations with foreign countries and is dedicated to upholding women's rights but within the parameters of Islamic law.

The movement's primary spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, declared: "We do not desire any internal or external opponents."

In a statement issued on behalf of the militants, Mujahid, who had previously been a mysterious figure delivering pronouncements on their behalf, stated that women would be permitted to work and study and that they would be "extremely engaged in society, but within the framework of Islam."

He insisted that "everyone has been forgiven" and that the Taliban would not pursue retaliation against former soldiers or members of the Western-backed government if they returned home. He went on to say that the movement was extending amnesty to former Afghan government soldiers, as well as contractors and interpreters who had served with multinational forces in the country.

"We don't want any internal or external enemies," Zabihullah Mujahid, the movement's senior spokesman, said in an interview.

In a statement issued on behalf of the militants, Mujahid, who had previously been a mysterious figure delivering pronouncements on their behalf, stated that women would be permitted to work and study and that they would be "extremely engaged in society, but within the discipline of Islam."

In an interview with a U.S. television network, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told a reporter that the Taliban would not seek retaliation against former members of the Western-backed administration and that "everyone is forgiven." He went on to say that the movement was providing amnesty to former Afghan government soldiers, as well as contractors and interpreters who had served with international forces throughout the conflict.

Nothing is going to harm you, and no one is going to knock on your door, he assured the audience.

His statement went on to say that a new administration would be formalized in Kabul as soon as the uncertain situation there permitted it.

Mujahid emphasized that Afghanistan would not tolerate anyone who wished to wage war against other countries harboring in its territory. As part of a deal reached with the Trump administration in 2020, the militants demanded that the United States withdraw from Syria, which was eventually granted under current President Joe Biden.

He stated that private media could continue to operate freely and independently in Afghanistan and that the Taliban were dedicated to the media within the context of Afghan culture.

He also promised that Afghanistan, which, according to a United Nations drug control agency, is the source of the majority of the world's heroin, would be free of narcotics, and he appealed to the international community to assist the country in developing alternative crops for farmers who have relied on opium poppies for their livelihood.

Amrullah Saleh, Afghanistan's first vice president, called himself the "legitimate caretaker president" and pledged not to submit to Kabul's new rulers. Mujahid's conciliatory tone stood in stark contrast to Saleh's statements.

The Taliban's press conference happened while U.S. and Western allies evacuated their personnel and civilians from the embassy and other Western facilities in Kabul, following the security disarray at Kabul airport.

Even as international powers race to remove diplomats and citizens from Afghanistan, they also consider how they should respond to the deteriorating situation on the ground.

According to Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, the Taliban should enable all those who wish to leave the country. The organization's goal is to assist in the establishment of a functional state in Afghanistan.

During the tumultuous circumstances at Kabul International Airport, there has been significant condemnation of the United States' exit.

"It shames the political West to see these scenes of desperation in Kabul International Airport." -German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The Taliban made a bargain not to target Western troops as they depart from Afghanistan in the previous year.

Foreign officials have indicated they will wait to see if the rebels follow through on their pledges since many Afghans worry the Taliban will restore the country to a state of ruthless control similar to what they experienced under their prior reign.

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