KABUL – The Taliban has assured peace, security, an inclusive government and promised to rebuild Afghanistan’s infrastructure and economy, following the group’s return to power in the war-torn nation.
In the Taliban’s first press conference since they regained control, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that “freedom and independence seeking is a legitimate right of every nation. The Afghans also use their legitimate right after 20 years of struggle for freedom and for emancipating the country from occupation, this was our right and we achieved this right.”
The group’s swift comeback after two decades has been met with mixed reaction. Just as certain quarters in the Muslim world have congratulated the Taliban on their victory, critics remain skeptical of the Taliban’s latest promises of peace, security and non-discrimination.
Peace and security
Earlier this week, footage of chaotic scenes emerged from the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. Desperate civilians converged on the capital city’s international airport in an attempt to flee Afghanistan, fearing the revenge attacks and further chaos upon the Taliban’s return to power.
However, Mujahid announced that the Taliban has pardoned its enemies and declared intentions to maintain peace. “We want to do away with the factors for conflict. Therefore, the Islamic Emirate does not have any kind of hostility or animosity with anybody; animosities have come to an end and we would like to live peacefully,” said Mujahid.
Speaking about security, he assured citizens and representatives of foreign nations that they will be secure. He said: “We ensure the safety and security of the people and the resistance of Kabul. Therefore, the residents should be assured that your security is guaranteed”.
“I would like to assure all the compatriots, whether they were translators, whether they were with military activities or whether they were civilians, all of them have been important. Nobody is going to be treated with revenge,” he said.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 550,000 people in Afghanistan have fled their homes due to the conflict since the beginning of 2021 and about 1,26,000 people have been displaced since July until August 9, 2021.
Women’s rights and inclusivity
We watch in complete shock as Taliban takes control of Afghanistan. I am deeply worried about women, minorities and human rights advocates. Global, regional and local powers must call for an immediate ceasefire, provide urgent humanitarian aid and protect refugees and civilians.— Malala (@Malala) August 15, 2021
Human rights organisations and activists have voiced their concerns over the Taliban’s notoriously violent treatment of women during its reign between 1996 and 2001, fearful that such practices may return with the group’s return to power. However, Mujahid maintained that the issue of women is “very important” and the rights of women will be protected “within the framework of Sharia”.
“Our sisters, our men have the same rights; they will be able to benefit from their rights. They can have activities in different sectors and different areas on the basis of our rules and regulations: educational, health and other areas,” he said.
Mujahid added: “The international community, if they have concerns, we would like to assure them that there’s not going to be any discrimination against women, but of course within the frameworks that we have”.
Mujahid stated that an ‘inclusive’ government will be formed once consultations have been completed. He promised that the new government will begin rebuilding infrastructure – which had been extensively damaged during the war – and the country’s battered economy as soon as stability is restored.
He said: “We hope that as soon as conflict has done away with Afghanistan, we are going to build infrastructures of the economy. For this we are going to take actions for economic activities. The interactions with the international community, with other countries are going to continue. We are going to be working on our natural resources and our resources in order to revitalise our economy, for our reconstruction, for our prosperity.”