The Taliban declared “amnesty” for all of Afghanistan on Tuesday (Aug. 17) after seizing control in several cities across the country. Heavily armed Taliban militants took over the presidential palace in Kabul on Sunday (Aug. 15) after the collapse of the government under President Ashraf Ghani.
“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,” Enamullah Samangani, a member of the Taliban’s cultural commission, said on Tuesday, as reported by the Associated Press.
Other Taliban leaders also said they would not retaliate against those who cooperated with the Afghan government or foreign countries. However, according to AP, some Kabul residents have claimed Taliban militants are seeking out government personnel and supporters. An Afghan journalist also anonymously told the outlet she was hiding at a relative’s house following reports that Taliban fighters were looking for journalists.
Samangani also addressed the concerns of women, whose rights were all but eliminated during the Taliban’s brutal rule in the late 1990s. Samangani said women were “the main victims of the more than 40 years of crisis in Afghanistan” and claimed they would have the opportunity to work and study, a departure from the group’s previous policies.
“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is ready to provide women with [an] 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,” he added.
In an attempt to demonstrate the change, a Taliban official interviewed with a female television anchor on Tuesday. However, women in Kabul remained wary, with a group of female demonstrators demanding the Taliban not “eliminate women” on Monday. Zarifa Ghafari, the country’s first female mayor, also told British newspaper i that she expects the Taliban will “come for people like me and kill me.”
“I’m sitting here waiting for them to come,” she said on Sunday. “There is no one to help me or my family. I’m just sitting with them and my husband. And they will come for people like me and kill me. I can’t leave my family.”
As reported by REVOLT, thousands of Afghan civilians and foreigners flooded the Kabul international airport on Sunday in an attempt to flee the country. After pausing flights due to gunshots in the area, the airport reopened for military evacuation flights under the watch of American troops.