Taliban reportedly declares “amnesty” for government officials

Two days after the group took control of the capital city, the announcement came as an effort to reduce tensions across the city.

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On Tuesday, the Taliban announced a general “amnesty” throughout Afghanistan and called women to join the government, which would be established by the group. The statement came as an effort to reduce accelerated tension across the capital just a day after the city experienced chaos at Kabul airport as people tried to run away from the Taliban rule.

The remarks were made by Enamullah Samangani, a member of the Taliban’s cultural commission. Stating that women should take place in government in accordance with Shariah law, Samangadi said, “The Islamic Emirate does not want women to be victims.” Although the structure of the prospective government has not been fully determined yet, the Islamic one, which would include all parties, seems best, he added.

While Samangani did not provide further details, he alluded that people were already aware of the Islamic law standards that the Taliban wanted them to obey. “Our people are Muslims and we are not here to force them to Islam,” he said.

Under the Taliban administration, carried in line with a strict interpretation of Islamic law between 1996-2001, women were mostly forced to stay in their homes. Thus, many Afghans and the rest of the world approach with suspicion to Samangani’s remarks.

Even though any major abuses or violence have not been reported in Kabul, many people have stayed at home, terrified of the Taliban who have been said to be emptied jails and stolen armories.

Meanwhile, it was reported that the head of US Central Command (CENTCOM), General Kenneth McKenzie had a face-to-face meeting with the Taliban leadership in the Qatari capital, Doha. Speaking to Associated Press (AP) on the condition of anonymity, a US defense ministry official confirmed that McKenzie directly met with the Taliban’s leaders. In the meeting, McKenzie reportedly asked the Taliban not to interfere with the US evacuation operation.

Moreover, the official added that McKenzie and the Taliban leadership reached an agreement over a “mechanism of de-escalation.” Stating that McKenzie noted any offensive would receive retaliation by the US forces, the official said that the US commander underlined Kabul airport would be protected.

On the other hand, speaking to AP on the request of anonymity, another official who is familiar with the matter, said that senior Taliban leader Amir Khan Muttaqi arrived in the Afghan capital while negotiations with non-Taliban political leaders, including Abdullah Abdullah, who previously headed the Afghan government’s negotiating council and former President Hamid Karzai, are ongoing. In the Taliban administration, Muttaqi served as higher education minister.

The source stated that the ongoing talks in Kabul aim to include other non-Taliban leaders into the prospective government that the Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen defined as an “inclusive Afghan government.”

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