In its first press conference after seizing power in Afghanistan, the Taliban on Tuesday said the security of embassies in Kabul is of crucial importance to them. "We would like to assure all foreign countries that our forces are there to ensure the security of all embassies, missions, international organizations, and aid agencies," news agency ANI quoted Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid as saying.
Mujahid asserted that rights of women will be protected within the limits of Islamic law. "Taliban are committed to providing women their rights based on Islam. Women can work in the health sector and other sectors where they are needed. There will be no discrimination against women," he said
Mujahid assured that no will be allowed to use Afghan territory for attacks against any nation. "I would like to assure the international community, including the United States, that nobody will be harmed,” Al Jazeera quoted the Taliban spokesperson as saying.
“In Afghanistan, I would like to assure our neighbours, our original countries we are not going to allow our territory to be used against anybody or any country in the world. So the whole global community should be assured that we are committed to these pleasures that you will not be harmed," he added.
Mujahid further said that "freedom and independence" was the legitimate right of every nation. He also congratulated the Afghan people for being "emancipated" from 20 years of occupation, Al Jazeera quoted him as saying.
In response to question about differences between 1990s Taliban and today's, Mujahid said the ideology and beliefs, but there is a change in terms of experience. "They're more experienced and have a different perspective," TOLO News quoted Mujahid as saying. "We want to establish a government that includes all sides," he added.
Earlier in the day, the Taliban declared an "amnesty" across Afghanistan and urged women to join their government on Tuesday, seeking to convince a wary population that they have changed a day after deadly chaos gripped the main airport as desperate crowds tried to flee their rule.
Following a blitz across Afghanistan that saw many cities fall to the insurgents without a fight, the Taliban have sought to portray themselves as more moderate than when they imposed a brutal rule in the late 1990s. But many Afghans remain skeptical.
While there were no major reports of abuses or fighting in the capital of Kabul as the Taliban now patrol its streets, many residents have stayed home and remain fearful after the insurgents' takeover saw prisons emptied and armories looted.
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 of Afghanistan with full dignity and honesty has announced a complete amnesty for all Afghanistan, especially those who were with the opposition or supported the occupiers for years and recently," he said.
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.
Samangani also described women as "the main victims of the more than 40 years of crisis in Afghanistan." "The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan doesn't want the women to be the victims anymore," he said.
"The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is ready to provide women with environment to work and study, and the presence of women in different (government) structures according to Islamic law and in accordance with our cultural values."
This would be a marked departure from the last time the Taliban were in power, when women were largely confined to their homes. However, Samangani didn't describe exactly what he meant by Islamic law, implying people already knew the rules. He added that "all sides should join" the government.
(With AP inputs)