The Taliban militant group says the 20-year-long occupation of Afghanistan by the US-led forces has come to an end, and that no one is after the continuation of war in the country.
In a first official press conference since the seizure of the Afghan capital of Kabul, Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid congratulated the Afghan people on being “emancipated” from 20 years of occupation and said “freedom and independence” was the legitimate right of every nation.
“After 20 years of struggle, we have emancipated [the country] and expelled foreigners. We don’t want any external or internal enemies,” Mujahid told reporters on Tuesday. “We want to make sure Afghanistan is no longer a battlefield of conflicts. We have pardoned all those who have fought against us. Animosities have come to an end.”
The spokesman vowed to ensure the security of all foreign embassies and international organizations in Afghanistan, stressing that the security of embassies is very crucial for the Taliban.
Mujahid also said the militant group would soon form an inclusive government and pledged that it wanted to have “friendly relations” with the country’s neighbors.
The US-led invasion of Afghanistan removed the Taliban from power 20 years ago, but it worsened the security situation in the country.
The Taliban militant group recently intensified offensives and rapidly overran major cities. The militants laid siege to Kabul on Sunday, forcing the sitting Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, to flee the country. Ghani, whose current whereabouts are unknown, left Afghanistan when the Taliban entered Kabul virtually unopposed.
The unfolding events led to chaos and confusion, with thousands of Afghan civilians and diplomats swarming the Kabul airport to take evacuation flights.
‘Taliban not seeking retribution’
During the news conference on Tuesday, Mujahid said the group would not seek revenge against former soldiers and members of the Western-backed government, adding that there was an amnesty for former Afghan government troops as well as contractors and translators who worked for international forces.
“Nobody is going to be treated with revenge. Nobody is going to knock on their door and ask them who they have been working for,” he added. “They are going to be safe. Nobody is going to be interrogated or chased.”
‘No one is allowed to use Afghan territory for attacks’
The Taliban spokesman told reporters in Kabul that no one would be allowed to use Afghan territory for attacks against other countries.
“I would like to ensure… I would like to assure the international community, including the United States, that nobody will be harmed,” he said.
“In Afghanistan, I would like to assure our neighbors, our original countries we are not going to allow our territory to be used against anybody or any country in the world. So the whole global community should be assured that we are committed to these principles and you will not be harmed.”
‘Women’s rights will be protected’
In response to a question about women’s rights, Mujahid said, “We are going to allow women to work and study within our frameworks. Women are going to be very active within our society.”
“We are committed to the rights of women under the system of Sharia [Islamic law],” the Taliban spokesman claimed. “They are going to be working shoulder to shoulder with us. We would like to assure the international community that there will be no discrimination.”
‘Private media can continue to be free’
Mujahid said the group wanted private media to “remain independent,” but stressed that journalists “should not work against national values.”
“I would like to assure the media that we are committed to the media within our cultural frameworks,” Mujahid said. “Private media can continue to be free and independent.”
“Nothing should be against Islamic values when it comes to the activities of the media,” he added. “You in the media should pay attention to [our] shortcomings so we can serve the nation. The media should not work against us. They should work for the unity of the nation.”