The Taliban held their first official news conference in Kabul on Tuesday since the shock seizure of the city, declaring they wanted peaceful relations with other countries and would respect the rights of women within the framework of Islamic law.
“We don’t want any internal or external enemies,” the movement’s main spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, said.
Mujahid said women would be allowed to work and study and “will be very active in society but within the framework of Islam.”
Afghan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh meanwhile said he was in the country and declared himself the “legitimate caretaker president” and that he would not bow to Kabul’s new rulers.
The Taliban news conference came as the United States and Western allies evacuated diplomats and civilians the day after scenes of chaos at Kabul airport as Afghans desperate to flee the Taliban thronged to the terminal.
As they rush to evacuate diplomats and civilians from Afghanistan, foreign powers are assessing how to respond to changed situation on the ground.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the Taliban should allow all those who wanted to leave the country to depart, adding that NATO’s aim was to help build a viable state in Afghanistan.
There has been widespread criticism of the US withdrawal amid the chaotic scenes at Kabul airport. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said “the images of despair at Kabul airport shame the political West.”
Under a US troops withdrawal pact struck last year, the Taliban agreed not to attack foreign forces as they leave.