Taliban leaders met with former Afghan PR Hamid Karzai

The meeting came a day after pledges by Afghanistan’s new rulers to work for national reconciliation and forgive their opponents.

Taliban officials met Wednesday in Kabul with former Afghan President Hamid Karzai and former Vice President Abdullah Abdullah, leader of the Council for National Reconciliation in failed talks in Qatar, according to the watchdog group of the Islamist ‘sites’ SITE.

The meeting came a day after promises by Afghanistan’s new rulers to work for national reconciliation and forgive their opponents, and after Westerners warned them that they would judge them for their actions.

Taliban leaders, who are seeking to form a government, “said they forgave all former government officials, so it is no longer necessary for anyone to leave the country,” SITE said after the Taliban released images of Hamid Karzai with Anas Haqqani, one of the negotiators of his movement.

At the same time, life began to resume in Kabul, despite fear prevailing: the Afghan capital was very calm this Wednesday, with public administration and trade closed due to Achura, an important Shiite religious holiday.

Many Afghans, however, continued to mass in front of foreign embassies, encouraged by rumors about the possibility of obtaining visas or asylum, and thousands are at Kabul airport trying to board flights out of the country.

After fleeing the country on Sunday, former President Ashraf Ghani took refuge with his family in the United Arab Emirates, where he announced that he will address “the nation”.

On Tuesday, the Taliban tried to reassure the international community at the first press conference they held in Kabul, two days after they took power, as their movement’s co-founder, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, called on to assume senior positions, returned to Afghanistan.

After seizing 30 of 34 provincial capitals in just ten days, the Taliban entered Kabul on Sunday, barely encountering resistance from government security forces, proclaiming the end of the war and their victory, which signaled their return to power in the country. Afghanistan 20 years after being expelled by US military forces and its NATO allies.

It was the culmination of an offensive that started in May, when the withdrawal of foreign military forces began, whose completion was scheduled for 31 August.

International forces have been in the country since 2001, as part of the offensive led by the United States against the extremist regime, which welcomed in its territory the leader of al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden, considered the moral author of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

After having governed the country from 1996 to 2001, imposing a radical interpretation of sharia (Islamic law), it is feared that extremists will again impose a regime of terror, reducing to zero or almost the fundamental rights of women and girls, although they have already assured that “life, property and honor” will be respected and that women will be able to study and work.

During the previous “reign” of the Taliban in Afghanistan, games, music, photography, and television were prohibited; thieves’ hands were cut off, murderers were executed in public, and homosexuals killed; women were prohibited from going out into the street without a male companion and from working and girls from going to school; and women accused of adultery – those who had been raped also being considered adulteresses – were whipped and stoned to death.

This time, a Taliban spokesman, Suhail Shaheen, told British television station Sky News that the burqa, which covers the entire body and face with a fabric net at eye level, will no longer be mandatory.

Presenting themselves as more moderate, the Taliban seem to be getting a less hostile international reception than 20 years ago, when only three countries (Pakistan, UAE, and Saudi Arabia) recognized their regime, although none have so far. 

Source: with Agencies

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