Afghanistan crisis: Burqa not mandatory for women but wear hijab for security, says Taliban
As they conducted their first press conference since seizing control from the Western-backed government in Kabul, the Taliban declared that the war in Afghanistan was ended and that all of their opponents would be pardoned. As part of a PR blitz aimed at convincing international powers and a terrified populace that they have changed, the Taliban pledged Tuesday to respect women's rights, forgive those who opposed them, and assure a secure Afghanistan. The Taliban have attempted to present themselves as more moderate than when they established a harsh rule in the late 1990s, following a rapid advance throughout Afghanistan that saw major cities fall to the militants without a struggle.
As they conducted their first press conference since seizing control from the Western-backed government in Kabul, the Taliban declared that the war in Afghanistan was ended and that all of their opponents would be pardoned.
As part of a PR blitz aimed at convincing international powers and a terrified populace that they have changed, the Taliban pledged Tuesday to respect women's rights, forgive those who opposed them, and assure a secure Afghanistan.
The Taliban have attempted to present themselves as more moderate than when they established a harsh rule in the late 1990s, following a rapid advance throughout Afghanistan that saw major cities fall to the militants without a struggle.
“The burqa is not the only hijab (headscarf) that (can) be observed, there is different types of hijab not limited to burqa," Suhail Shaheen, spokesman for the group’s political office in Doha, told Britain’s Sky News.
We would like to assure our neighbours & regional countries that we'll not allow our territory to be used against any country in the world. Global community should rest assured that we're committed that you will not be harmed anyway from our soil: Taliban spox Zabihullah Mujahid pic.twitter.com/IBzWsnq1SN— ANI (@ANI) August 17, 2021
Mujahid said that Taliban promised to respect the role of the press. He said that private media can continue to be 'free and independent'. However the freedom came at a few 'suggestions'
Also read | Taliban ok with women attending universities
Women "can get education from primary to higher education -- that means university. We have announced this policy at international conferences, the Moscow conference and here at the Doha conference (on Afghanistan)," said Suhail Shaheen, Taliban spokesperson for its political office in Doha
The Taliban pledge a secure Afghanistan as part of a public relations campaign aimed at persuading world powers and a fearful population that they have reformed.
Taliban’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid promised the Taliban would honour women's rights, but within the norms of Islamic law.
The Taliban gave the first indication on Tuesday since coming to power that they would not make the full burqa compulsory for women as they did when they last ruled Afghanistan.
Under the militants' hardline 1996-2001 rule, girls' schools were closed, women were prevented from travelling and working, and women were forced to wear an all-covering burqa in public.
"The burqa is not the only hijab (headscarf) that (can) be observed, there is different types of hijab not limited to burqa," Suhail Shaheen, spokesman for the group's political office in Doha, told Britain's Sky News.
The security of embassies in Kabul is of crucial importance to us. 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: Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid pic.twitter.com/tmMKJifZc9— ANI (@ANI) August 17, 2021
"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," TOLOnews quotes Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid as saying
Former first vice-president Amrullah Saleh has claimed that he is the caretaker president of Afghanistan in Ashraf Ghani's absence.
Clarity: As per d constitution of Afg, in absence, escape, resignation or death of the President the FVP becomes the caretaker President. I am currently inside my country & am the legitimate care taker President. Am reaching out to all leaders to secure their support & consensus.— Amrullah Saleh (@AmrullahSaleh2) August 17, 2021
The Russian Kalashnikov AK-47 and its derivatives have long been the assault rifle of choice for militant groups because of their rugged design, but some Taliban fighters are trading them in for captured U.S. guns as Afghanistan's government collapses.
Video and pictures published by the Taliban on Twitter and elsewhere show fighters carrying M4 carbines and M16 rifles discarded by Afghan army units. Other images show Taliban forces capturing abandoned government vehicles.
The Taliban have forbidden their fighters from entering diplomatic buildings or from interfering with embassy vehicles. The group has also asked its fighters to maintain discipline and not trouble ordinary people as they go about their business.
"Taliban members have been ordered at all levels to ensure that we don't disrespect any country's presence in Afghanistan," said a senior Taliban official, who declined to be identified. He was quoted by Reuters.
Indian embassy staff evacuation from Kabul completed in two phases: MEA
As regards Afghan nationals, our visa services will continue through an e-Emergency visa facility, which has been extended to Afghan nationals. We have already received requests from Afghan Sikh & Hindu community leaders, and are in touch with them: MEA— ANI (@ANI) August 17, 2021
UN says world will 'scrutinise' Taliban actions
The United Nations is urging the Taliban to keep its promises, including its pledges to grant an amnesty to former government workers in Afghanistan, show inclusiveness for women and allow girls to remain in school.
"We support the beginning of an inclusive national dialogue with the participation of all of Afghanistan's political, ethnic and religious groups," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in comments carried by Russian state TV.
“Your welcome has an impact on all of us. Thank you to the Indian Air Force who flew us out under conditions that are not normal,” Indian ambassador to Afghanistan Rudrendra Tandon was quoted as saying by news agency ANI after landing at Jamnagar.
Germany had sent its special forces to ensure the evacuation of its citizens amid chaotic scenes at Kabul airport on Monday.
Armin Laschet, the leader of Angela Merkel's ruling party said it was "the biggest debacle" in NATO's history.
If a video shared on the social microblogging site Twitter is to be believed, unidentified armed man can be seen trying to shoot a civilian, who was trying to enter the international airport in Kabul on Monday.
As part of the emergency evacuation in view of the prevailing situation in the Afghan capital, the staff of Indian embassy in Kabul was brought inside the secure areas of the airport safely late on Monday, reports said citing people familiar with the development.
Indian Air Force(IAF) plane with Indian officials lands in Gujarat's Jamnagar. The C-17 aircraft was ordered to bring back Indian officials from Kabul as the Taliban took control of the capital.
Taliban announces "general amnesty" for government officials and urges them to return to work.
India's Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday said,"In view of the prevailing circumstances, it has been decided that our ambassador in Kabul and his Indian staff will move to India immediately."
In view of the prevailing circumstances, it has been decided that our Ambassador in Kabul and his Indian staff will move to India immediately.— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) August 17, 2021
Indian Air Force C-17 aircraft has taken off from Kabul with more than 120 Indian officials, ANI reported.
Watch: Kabul airport reopens for evacuations
French nationals and their Afghan colleagues line up to board a French military transport plane at Kabul airport.
French soldiers stand guard near a military plane at Kabul airport
The US troops should not be fighting or dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves, Biden said.
"We spent over a trillion dollars. We trained and equipped an Afghan military force of some 300,000 strong. Incredibly well equipped. A force larger in size than the militaries of many of our NATO allies," he emphasised.
The US troops reportedly used Apache helicopters to chase away Afghans swarming the airport as they made a desperate attempt to escape the Taliban.
The US is seeking to evacuate several embassy personnel including and as many as 30,000 Afghans who are currently fleeing the new regime.
The US said Kabul airport has reopened after it was closed for several hours due to breakdown in security with people crowding the tarmac.
A US C-17 transport aircraft had landed at Kabul airport to evacaute American personnel on Tuesday. The US asserted that it was in charge of air traffic control at Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA).
The US reportedly has stationed 2,500 troops in Kabul to help organise the evacuation.
The Pakistan PM appeared to praise the Taliban in a video broadcast on Pakistani television, saying that "they have freed the chains of mental slavery in Afghanistan".
A look at the side-by-side photographs of Afghanistan as we try to understand the changes this South Asian nation went through in a matter of days.
During their previous reign in late 90s, Taliban had imposed harsh, oppressive restrictions on women and brutally punished, even killed those who appeared to 'violate' their diktat by slightest of margins.
Despite the Taliban's insurgency and the government's rapid collapse, President Biden gave a statement from the White House on Monday afternoon, stating he remained "squarely behind" his decision to remove all US soldiers from Afghanistan.