The Taliban held their first official press conference on Tuesday (August 17) since their taking over Kabul without a fight on Sunday (August 15) declaring it wished for peaceful relations with other countries.
“We don’t want any internal or external enemies,” Reuters quoted the group’s main spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, as saying. The spokesman also said they are proud of freeing Afghanistan from occupation adding that “freedom and independence” was the legitimate right of every nation.
He also promised to protect women’s rights and press freedom.
“We are going to allow women to work and study. We have got frameworks, of course. Women are going to be very active in the society but within the framework of Islam” he said in response to a question from an Al Jazeera correspondent.
“We are committed to the media within our cultural frameworks. Private media can continue to be free and independent. They can continue their activities,” he added.
The Taliban announcements, came as foreign powers rushed to evacuate diplomats and civilians the day after thousands of Afghans desperate to flee swarmed the runway at Kabul airport, following the Taliban’s sudden takeover of the capital. At least seven people died in Monday’s chaos, including several people who clung to the sides of a jet as it took off.
The scenes of chaotic evacuation from Kabul’s Airport “shame the political West” German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.
The airport is back open and as many as 800 people have been evacuated overnight, including 165 U.S. citizens, Army Gen. William Taylor, an official on the Joint staff told USA Today.
Evacuation flights could carry as many as 9,000 people out of Afghanistan per day, Taylor said.
After an emergency meeting of European Union foreign ministers to discuss events in Afghanistan, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said:
“Cooperation with any future Afghan government will be conditioned on a peaceful and inclusive settlement and respect for the fundamental rights of all Afghans, including women, youth and persons belonging to minorities, as well as respect for Afghanistan’s international obligations, commitment to the fight against corruption and preventing the use of Afghanistan’s territory by terrorist organisations.”
Meanwhile, U.S. President Biden who hasn’t spoken with any of his foreign counterparts since Kabul fell to the Taliban, will speak again on the situation in Afghanistan in the coming days, national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters at a White House briefing.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the Taliban’s initial assurances since completing their military takeover of Afghanistan over the weekend have been a “positive signal”.
China is ready to deepen “friendly and cooperative” relations with Afghanistan, Hua Chunying
a foreign ministry spokeswoman told a press briefing, after the Taliban seized control of the country.
With reporting by Reuters, AP, Al Jazeera, USA Today