Taliban announce ‘amnesty’, urge women to join government

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The Taliban on Tuesday announced an “amnesty” across Afghanistan and urged women to join its government, trying to calm nerves in a nervous capital which just the day before saw chaos at its airport as people were trying to escape their domination.

The comments from Enamullah Samangani, a member of the Taliban’s cultural commission, represent the first comments on federal-level governance across the country after their blitz across the country.

Although there have been no major reports of abuse or fighting in Kabul, many residents have remained at home and remain fearful after the insurgent takeover that saw prisons empty and armories looted. . Older generations are remembered for their ultra-conservative Islamic views, which included stoning, amputation and public executions during their reign before the United States-led invasion following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

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Hundreds of people gather near a US Air Force C-17 transport plane in the perimeter of Kabul International Airport, Afghanistan on Monday, August 16, 2021. (AP Photo / Shekib Rahmani)
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Hundreds of people gather near a US Air Force C-17 transport plane in the perimeter of Kabul International Airport, Afghanistan on Monday, August 16, 2021. (AP Photo / Shekib Rahmani)

“The Islamic Emirate does not want women to be victims,” Samangani said, using the term activists for Afghanistan. “They should be in the government structure according to Sharia law.”

He added, “The structure of government is not entirely clear, but based on experience, there should be a fully Islamic leadership and all parties should adhere.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday Stefano Pontecorvo, NATO’s senior civilian representative in Afghanistan, uploaded a video showing the empty runway with US troops on the tarmac. What appeared to be a military cargo plane could be seen in the distance behind a chain-link fence in the footage.

The track “is open,” he wrote on Twitter. “I see planes landing and taking off.”

Overnight, flight tracking data showed a United States Marine Corps KC-130J Hercules aircraft at the airport and later taking off for Qatar, home to Al-Udeid Air Base and the forward headquarters of the US military central command. No further immediate flights were seen in Afghan airspace, which was taken over by the US military as commercial flights were halted in the country.

Across Afghanistan, the International Committee of the Red Cross said thousands of people were injured in the fighting. Security forces and politicians handed over their provinces and bases without a fight, probably believing that the Western experiment of two decades to remake Afghanistan would not survive the Taliban resurgence. The last American troops had planned to withdraw at the end of the month.

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“The world is following the events in Afghanistan with a heavy heart and deep concern for what lies ahead,” said United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Resolute US President Joe Biden said on Monday he “squarely” supported his decision to withdraw US forces and acknowledged the “heartbreaking” images unfolding in Kabul. Biden said he had a choice between honoring a previously negotiated withdrawal agreement or sacking thousands of additional troops to begin a third decade of war.

“After 20 years, I have learned the hard way that there is never a good time to withdraw US forces,” Biden said in a televised White House speech.

Talks appeared to be continuing between the Taliban and several Afghan government officials, including former President Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, who once headed the country’s negotiating council. President Ashraf Ghani had previously fled the country amid the Taliban’s advance and his whereabouts are unknown.

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An official with direct knowledge of the talks, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters, said senior Taliban official Amir Khan Muttaqi had arrived in Kabul from Qatar. Muttaqi is a former minister of higher education during the last Taliban reign. Muttaqi had started making contact with Afghan political leaders even before Ghani fled.

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