The Afghan Taliban said on Tuesday they wanted peaceful relations with other countries and would respect the rights of women within the framework of Islamic law, as they held their first official news briefing since their shocking, swift seizure of Kabul.
The Taliban held their first official news conference in Kabul on Tuesday since the shocking, swift seizure of the city, claiming they wanted peaceful relations with other countries and – despite past harsh treatment of women that included public stonings – vowed they would respect women’s rights within the framework of Islamic law.
“Women will be afforded all their rights whether it is at work or other activities because women are a key part of society.
We are guaranteeing all their rights within the limits of Islam.” The militant group also said Afghans who had worked with the U.S. and allied forces as translators or in similar roles had a home within the new regime.
“As for their talents and their skills, we do not want them to leave the country.
We want them to serve their own homeland.” Locals gathered around television sets to watch the press conference – like these men in a Kabul pool hall.
"I am worried and hope there will be peace, stability, and a good system in the country.
There is a lot of anarchy in the current government so let's see what the Taliban will do for us." The Taliban’s conciliatory tone contrasted sharply with comments by Afghan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh – who served under President Ashraf Ghani prior to Ghani fleeing the country.
Saleh on Tuesday declared himself the "legitimate caretaker president" of Afghanistan and vowed that he would not bow to Kabul's new rulers.
The Taliban news conference came as U.S. and Western allies rush to evacuate diplomats and civilians from Afghanistan – one day after chaotic scenes at the Kabul airport of desperate Afghans trying to flee.
The Taliban in their press conference said families trying to flee the country should return home and that nothing would happen to them.
Some Kabul residents on Tuesday cautiously ventured back to work.
Many shops were shuttered, schools closed, and traffic was light, but there were several pick-up trucks with white flags carrying Taliban gunmen and commanders stationed at checkpoints.