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Taliban go to the world for international legitimacy

The fundamentalists' chief spokesman has assured that women's rights "will be respected" under Islamic law
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AP/RAHMAT GUL  -   Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid speaks at his first press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan

The fall of Kabul on Sunday to the Taliban marks the beginning of the new Islamic State of Afghanistan. After two days of chaos and confusion in the Afghan capital, as well as throughout the country, the fundamentalists held a press conference, where they wanted to convey a conciliatory and "peaceful" image to the international community, as well as to the Afghan population itself. A population that still distrusts the group, recalling the years of the Emirate imposed in 1996, where Sharia law was rigorously applied.

While the different countries with representation in Afghanistan resumed the evacuation of their diplomatic personnel, as well as nationals resident in the country and collaborators, the Taliban presented themselves to the different media to clarify some lines of their future government, still without a concrete structure. The main Taliban spokesman, Zabihulla Mujahid, began his speech by announcing a "general amnesty" for all those who had collaborated with foreign countries or had fought against the group. 

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AP/RAHMAT GUL - Mujahid vowed on Tuesday that the Taliban would respect women's rights, spare those who resist them and ensure a secure Afghanistan

"The Islamic Emirate has no hostility or animosity towards anyone; animosities have come to an end and we would like to live in peace. We don't want internal or external enemies," said Mujahid, who called the previous government "incompetent" and blamed the chaos of Sunday. "The security forces could not do anything to ensure security and we have to do something, we have to take responsibility. Therefore, we ordered our forces to enter Kabul to ensure security," the Taliban spokesman explained.

The fundamentalists, Mujahid said, pledged to ensure the security of representatives of foreign countries present in Afghanistan, as well as embassies, international organisations and aid and cooperation agencies. "Our forces are there 24 hours a day to ensure their security, no doubt. Mujahid also called on all civilians at Kabul International Airport to return to their homes and assured them that they would not face any kind of persecution. "Those who have families waiting at the airport, if they return to their homes, no one will do anything to them; they will be safe. Nobody will inspect them there, we give them confidence," the group said.

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REUTERS/MOHAMMAD ISMAIL - Burqa-clad Afghan women pray under graffiti on a wall in Kabul, Afghanistan

The Taliban spokesman wanted to make it clear during his first speech after taking over the Afghan government that, as they had previously assured, the Central Asian country would not become a sanctuary for different terrorist groups to organise attacks as happened in 2001, the main reason why the United States decided to intervene in Afghanistan, to prevent a repeat of 9/11. During the press conference, the guarantee that the media could continue to work in a "free" and "impartial" manner, albeit within the framework of Islamic law, was discussed.

Women's rights have been one of the issues of greatest concern with the return to Taliban rule. During the 1996 Islamic Emirate, women were relegated to domestic duties and were not allowed to work or study, among many other prohibitions. Mujahid said that women will not be discriminated against and that they will be able to continue studying and working, stressing again that all this will be done within the framework of Islamic law. "Women will be able to work in different sectors and different areas based on our rules and regulations: education, health and other areas, but of course within the frameworks that we have," the Taliban spokesman said.

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Social Media/via REUTERS - Mullah Baradar Akhund, a senior Taliban official, sits with a group of men

At the same time as this press conference, the possible candidate for the presidency of the new Islamic Emirate, Mullah Baradar Akhund, head of the insurgents' political office in Qatar, arrived in Afghanistan. The leader is said to have arrived in Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban movement, accompanied by a high-level delegation. Baradar's arrival in Afghanistan after more than two decades signals the beginning of a new era in the Central Asian country, and the imminent formation of the new Taliban government. Baradar was arrested in 2010 in Pakistan, but subsequently released in 2018 at the request of former US President Donald Trump's administration in order to take part in peace talks.

The facts are immovable, the Taliban have won the war and are seeking international legitimacy. Countries such as Turkey, China and Russia have announced the possibility of recognising the new Taliban government, while Canada has rejected any hint of legitimacy. For his part, the EU's High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, has admitted that "the Taliban have won the war" and will have to be dealt with in order to avoid a new wave of refugees. In this context, US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson have agreed to convene a virtual summit of G7 leaders next week on Afghanistan to discuss the latest developments in the country.