Members of Congress are eager to investigate what they say were mistakes made by various presidents over Afghanistan, reports Rohit Kachroo, ITV News’ security editor.
the Taliban finally “emancipated” Afghanistan and “expelled foreigners,” the insurgents declared in their first national speech since the takeover of the country.
Two days after Afghanistan fell back to the Taliban, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid described their rapid rise to power as a “moment of pride” for the struggling nation.
“After 20 years of struggle, we have emancipated ourselves [the country] and expelled foreigners, ”said Mujahid, who has been a dark figure for years.
“It is a moment of pride for the whole nation. “
He also doubled the Taliban’s efforts to convince the world that he changed from the group that imposed a brutal regime on the country between 1996 and 2001.
He promised that the Taliban would respect women’s rights, but within the norms of Islamic law. Asked about private media, Mujahid said the group wanted platforms to “remain independent”, but stressed that journalists “should not work against national values.”
He also promised that the insurgents would secure Afghanistan, but would not seek revenge on those working with the former government or with foreign governments or forces.“We assure you that no one will go to their door to ask why they helped,” he said.
However, revenge killings and other brutal tactics have been reported in areas of the country that the Taliban have seized in recent days, while others have reported that militants have been going door-to-door looking for people.
After a blitz across Afghanistan that saw many cities fall to insurgents without a fight, the Taliban have sought to portray themselves as more moderate than they were 20 years ago.
CNN reporter Clarissa Ward spoke to a woman in Kabul who was in hiding from the Taliban
But many Afghans remain skeptical. Older generations remember the Taliban’s ultra-conservative Islamic views, which included severe restrictions on women, as well as public stoning, amputations and executions, before they were overthrown by the state-led invasion. United following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
CNN correspondent Clarissa Ward, who is in Kabul, said people there were “desperately afraid” and, despite assurances from the Taliban, were trying every means to get out of the country.
She spoke to a woman who had worked for several international organizations, including American companies, who is so afraid for her life that she is in hiding.
She said none of the organizations she had worked for offered to help her escape.
ITV News security editor Rohit Kachroo dissects Taliban claim he will not harbor terrorist groups like Al Qaeda
“I think about my future, about my daughters, what will happen to them if they kill me, two girls without their mother,” she said.
The capital of Kabul remained calm for another day as the Taliban patrolled its streets and many residents remained at home, fearing after the insurgent takeover that saw prisons empty and armories looted.
A broadcaster in Afghanistan said she was in hiding with a relative, too scared to return home, let alone return to work, following reports that insurgents are also looking for journalists.
She said she and other women didn’t think the Taliban had changed their ways. She spoke on condition of anonymity because she feared for her safety.
« [We] are committed to women’s rights under the sharia system [Islamic law] Mujahid said at the press conference.“They will be working side by side with us. We want to assure the international community that there will be no discrimination. “
The Taliban also said Sky News Monday that under their reign, women will still be able to attend university. It would be a marked change from when the Taliban was last in power, when women were largely confined to their homes.
Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, noted both the wishes of the Taliban and the fears of everyday Afghans.
“Such promises will have to be honored, and for now – again understandably, given past history – these statements have been met with some skepticism,” he said in a statement.
“There have been many hard-won advances in human rights over the past two decades. The rights of all Afghans must be defended.
Asked about the risk of Afghanistan becoming a safe haven for terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, Muhajid insisted: “Afghan soil will not be used against anyone.
In response to this assurance, a US spokesperson told ITV News: “We are going to listen to these words. What we will be looking for are their actions. “
The Taliban’s efforts to project a milder version of themselves may be aimed at ensuring that international aid money continues to flow – contributions from abroad are a crucial source of funding for Afghanistan.
Germany has suspended development aid to Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover, but British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said humanitarian aid could increase by 10%.
Afghans run alongside and cling to the side of a US military plane as it begins to take off from Kabul
He said the aid budget would be reconfigured for development and humanitarian purposes and that the Taliban would not get any money previously earmarked for security.
Meanwhile, Kabul International Airport, the only way out for many, reopened to military evacuation flights under the surveillance of American troops.
All flights were suspended on Monday when thousands of people rushed to the airport, desperate to leave the country.
In shocking scenes captured on video, some clung to a plane when it took off and then fell to their deaths. At least seven people have died in the chaos at the airport, US officials have said.