The Taliban announced a “general amnesty” across Afghanistan, they also urged women to join its government-to-be.
The group is trying to calm the situation in Kabul which just a day earlier saw chaos at its airport as thousands mobbed the city’s international airport in a desperate attempt to flee.
The promises of amnesty from Enamullah Samangani, a member of the Taliban’s cultural commission, were the first comments on how the Taliban might govern on a national level. His remarks remained vague, however, as the Taliban are still negotiating with political leaders of the country’s fallen government and no formal handover deal has been announced.
“The Islamic Emirate doesn’t want women to be victims,” Samangani said, using the militants’ name for Afghanistan. “They should be in the government structure according to Shariah law.”
This would mark a significant change from the last time the Taliban were in power, when women were largely confined to their homes.
Samangani didn’t describe exactly what he meant by Shariah, or Islamic, law, implying people already knew the rules the Taliban expected them to follow. He added that “all sides should join” a government.
It was also not clear what he meant by an amnesty, although other Taliban leaders have said they won’t seek revenge on those who worked with the Afghan government or foreign countries.
But some in Kabul allege Taliban fighters have lists of people who cooperated with the government and are seeking them out.
Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the United Nations’ high commissioner for human rights, noted both the Taliban’s vows and the fear of those now under their rule.
“Such promises will need to be honored, and for the time being — again understandably, given past history — these declarations have been greeted with some skepticism,” he said in a statement. “Nevertheless, the promises have been made, and whether or not they are honored or broken will be closely scrutinized.”
He added: “There have been many hard-won advances in human rights over the past two decades. The rights of all Afghans must be defended.”
U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday said he stood “squarely behind” his decision to withdraw American forces and acknowledged the “gut-wrenching” images unfolding in Kabul.
Biden said he faced a choice between honoring a previously negotiated withdrawal agreement or sending thousands more troops back to begin a third decade of war.
After 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces,” Biden said in a televised address from the White House.
Talks appeared to be continuing between the Taliban and several Afghan government officials, including former President Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, who once headed the country’s negotiating council.
An unnamed official with direct knowledge of the talks, said senior Taliban leader Amir Khan Muttaqi had arrived in Kabul from Qatar. Muttaqi is a former higher education minister during the Taliban’s last rule. Muttaqi had begun making contact with Afghan political leaders even before Ghani fled.
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