– The Taliban were taking control in Afghanistan on Sunday two decades after they were forced out by U.S.- backed forces.
During their years in power from 1996 to 2001, the Islamist Taliban ran one of the world’s most repressive governments.
There were public executions, stonings, strict interpretations of sharia, or Islamic religious law, women not being allowed to work, and girls not allowed to attend school. Women had to cover their face and be accompanied by a male relative if they wanted to venture out of their homes. Men were not allowed to trim their beards.
Now, the group is seeking to present a more moderate face. Following are some of the promises it has made in recent days:
- “The Islamic Emirate once again assures all its citizens that it will, as always, protect their life, property and honour and create a peaceful and secure environment for its beloved nation.” (Taliban statement)
- “All those who have previously worked and helped the invaders (Western troops), or are now standing in the ranks of the corrupt Administration of Kabul, the Islamic Emirate has opened its door for them and have announced for them amnesty.” (Taliban statement)
- “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is not interested in anyone’s private property, (not in anyone’s cars, not in anyone’s land and houses, not in anyone’s markets and shops), rather it considers protection of lives and properties of the nation its primary responsibility.” (Taliban statement)
- “In areas which are under the control of the Islamic Emirate, people should lead a normal life, especially in the official arena, whether it is educational, healthy, social or cultural.” (Taliban statement)
- “We also assure all the diplomats, embassies, consulates, and charitable workers, whether they are international or national that not only no problems will be created for them by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan security and a secure environment will be provided to them.” (Taliban statement)
- “We will respect rights of women…our policy is that women will have access to education and work, to wear the hijab.” (Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen to the BBC)