ISLAMABAD/KABUL – (WARSOOR) – The Taliban vowed to respect women’s rights “within Islamic law” and form an “inclusive Islamic” government as the radical movement consolidates its hold over the war-torn country.
The group stunned the world over the weekend when they retook power in the Afghan capital, conquering almost all the country’s 34 provinces in just over a week’s time.
Their lightening battlefield advances were primarily the outcome of the largely unexpected surrender or retreat by U.S.-trained Afghan security forces in the face of Taliban attacks.
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said Taliban leaders are engaged in “hectic” discussions with other rival groups and U.S. special peace envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, in Doha, Qatar, which houses the Taliban’s political office.
“In a few days there will be, of course, a transfer of power,” Shaheen told VOA by phone from the Qatari capital. “The deliberations and talks are underway to form an Afghan inclusive Islamic government. It will be announced soon.”
The United States and the global community in general have vowed not to recognize any government in Kabul imposed by force, fearing Taliban-led rule would prolong the Afghan civil war and threaten human rights in the country.
Afghan women’s rights
Women’s rights are of particular concern, with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday calling on the Taliban to protect “the hard-won rights of Afghan women and girls.”
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, while addressing a news conference in Kabul in his first public appearance, said women “will be given all their rights within Sharia “the Islamic laws.” Mujahid also said if women work in line with Sharia they can work freely in media.
Speaking to VOA earlier, Suhail Shaheen declined to clearly state whether Afghan women will be part of the future government.
“About women, we have announced already that they can have access to work and education by observing hijab. Today, you may have seen on (Afghan) TV stations women wearing hijab and doing their job,” he said.
Female news anchors broadcast news on Afghan mainstream television stations without interruption but covering their heads with a cloth or hijab.
Shaheen said the Taliban announced Tuesday a “general amnesty” for all, including government officials, and urged them to return to work.
This post is also available in: Somali