Taliban Spokesman, in Interview, Says, ‘We Want to Build the Future’

KABUL, Afghanistan — In his first sit-down interview with a Western media outlet since the Taliban took full management of Afghanistan, one in all the group’s leaders on Wednesday supplied a portrait of a gaggle intent on rebuilding a rustic shattered by a long time of struggle.

“We want to build the future, and forget what happened in the past,” the spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, stated in an interview with The New York Times. He rejected widespread fears that the Taliban are already exacting vengeance on those that opposed them and wish to reimpose the harsh controls on girls that made them infamous after they dominated the nation 20 years in the past.

The interview got here only a day after Mr. Mujahid warned the girls of Afghanistan that it could be most secure for them to stay house till extra rank-and-file Taliban fighters have been skilled in how not to mistreat them.

It was a notable acknowledgment of the many modifications to Afghan society that greeted the Taliban after they re-entered a metropolis they’d not managed for 20 years.

Many of these modifications contain girls. Not solely have they been free to go away house unaccompanied — dressed as they see match — they’ve additionally returned to college and jobs, and their pictures might be seen on every little thing from billboards to TV screens.

On Wednesday, Mr. Mujahid recommended that longer-term, girls can be free to resume their each day routines.

Concerns that the Taliban would as soon as once more drive them to keep in their properties or cowl their faces are baseless, he stated. He added that the requirement they be accompanied by a male guardian, generally known as a mahram, was misunderstood. It applies solely to journeys of three days or longer, he stated.

“If they go to school, the office, university, or the hospital, they don’t need a mahram,” stated Mr. Mujahid, who additionally serves as the Taliban’s chief spokesman.

He additionally supplied assurances to Afghans making an attempt to go away the nation, saying — opposite to information experiences based mostly on his information convention on Tuesday, together with in The Times — that these with legitimate journey paperwork wouldn’t be prevented from getting into the airport.

“We said that people who don’t have proper documents aren’t allowed to go,” Mr. Mujahid stated. “They need passports and visas for the countries they’re going to, and then they can leave by air. If their documents are valid, then we’re not going to ask what they were doing before.”

He additionally denied allegations that the Taliban have been trying to find former interpreters and others who labored for the American army, and claimed that they’d be protected in their very own nation. And he expressed frustration at the Western evacuation efforts.

“They shouldn’t interfere in our country and take out our human resources: doctors, professors and other people we need here,” Mr. Mujahid stated. “In America, they might become dishwashers or cooks. It’s inhuman.”

For the previous decade, Mr. Mujahid had been a key hyperlink between the militants and the information media, however remained faceless. On Wednesday, he granted the interview at the Ministry of Information and Culture as Taliban leaders and different Afghan energy brokers have been participating in protracted discussions about the future form of the nation.

Understand the Taliban Takeover in Afghanistan

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Who are the Taliban? The Taliban arose in 1994 amid the turmoil that got here after the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1989. They used brutal public punishments, together with floggings, amputations and mass executions, to implement their guidelines. Here’s extra on their origin story and their report as rulers.

Who are the Taliban leaders? These are the high leaders of the Taliban, males who’ve spent years on the run, in hiding, in jail and dodging American drones. Little is thought about them or how they plan to govern, together with whether or not they are going to be as tolerant as they declare to be.

How did the Taliban achieve management? See how the Taliban retook energy in Afghanistan in a number of months, and examine how their technique enabled them to accomplish that.

What occurs to the girls of Afghanistan? The final time the Taliban have been in energy, they barred girls and women from taking most jobs or going to college. Afghan girls have made many positive aspects since the Taliban have been toppled, however now they worry that floor could also be misplaced. Taliban officers are attempting to reassure girls that issues can be completely different, however there are indicators that, a minimum of in some areas, they’ve begun to reimpose the outdated order.

What does their victory imply for terrorist teams? The United States invaded Afghanistan 20 years in the past in response to terrorism, and lots of fear that Al Qaeda and different radical teams will once more discover protected haven there.

Mr. Mujahid is seen as possible to be the future minister of data and tradition. Fluent in each Pashto and Dari, the nation’s principal languages, Mr. Mujahid, 43, described himself as a local of Paktia Province and a graduate in Islamic jurisprudence from the well-known Darul Uloom Haqqania madrasa in Pakistan.

Despite the tense scenario at the airport on Wednesday, the place 1000’s of individuals have been nonetheless crowded round most entrance gates, Mr. Mujahid expressed hope that the Taliban would construct good relations with the worldwide group, stating areas of cooperation round counterterrorism, opium eradication and the discount of refugees to the West.

Although he sought to convey a way more tolerant picture of the Taliban, Mr. Mujahid did verify one report: Music is not going to be allowed in public.

“Music is forbidden in Islam,” he stated, “but we’re hoping that we can persuade people not to do such things, instead of pressuring them.”