in

Afghanistan: Taliban claim violence ‘is not their policy’, insist women ‘have their basic rights’

Spread the love


As chilling reports of beheadings and beatings come out of Afghanistan, the Taliban are continuing to insist the new regime has changed from when it was last in power.

Speaking on the BBC’s Today Programme, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said that after 20 years of fighting, the new leaders of Afghanistan wanted to build a ‘welfare state’ for its people.

‘We are the people of Afghanistan’, Suhail said on Saturday, while insisting that violence ‘is not their policy’ and that women ‘have their basic rights’. 

Meanwhile, war-weary residents of Kabul expressed anger and feelings of betrayal by the United States as the world marked the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that prompted a U.S. invasion of Afghanistan toppling of its Taliban rulers at the time.

But after a two-decade occupation, U.S. forces abruptly pulled out of Afghanistan last month, triggering the collapse of its Western-backed government and the Taliban’s dramatic return to power.

The group claims they have changed from 20 years ago, and intend to build a new country for its people. On the ground reports, however, paint a different picture. 

Pictured: Taliban forces stand guard at a roadside Afghan women hold placards during a pro-Taliban rally outside the Shaheed Rabbani Education University in Kabul, Afghanistan, 11 September 2021

Pictured: Taliban forces stand guard at a roadside Afghan women hold placards during a pro-Taliban rally outside the Shaheed Rabbani Education University in Kabul, Afghanistan, 11 September 2021

‘We are the people of Afghanistan,’ Shaheen told the BBC. ‘Many of us were doing the jihad, the resistance, against then Soviet union and now the 20 year occupation by the US and allies. 

‘Now, we are focusing on lifting the lives of our people, the construction of Afghanistan, creating jobs for our people, building a welfare state, he continied.

‘If I compare it to the past, we had a domestic war, fighting. But now we are focusing more on our economic activities, on creating jobs, expanding education, other needs of the people.’

But despite the Taliban’s insistence that they have changed since they were last in power from 1996 to 2001 – when women and girls were denied equal rights under strict Sharia law, television was banned and music was forbidden – reports from the country suggest otherwise. 

A video obtained by the Washington Examiner on Saturday showed Taliban fighters beheaded an Afghan soldier before singing as they held the severed head of the victim aloft by his hair.

Other footage has shown militants beating and whipping people on the streets as reports emerged of targeted killings and fighters going door-to-door searching for blue US passports. 

While harrowing images also emerged of journalists with angry welts and bruises after they were detained by Taliban fighters. 

Responding to questions about the violence shown by the Taliban, Shaheen said: ‘Violence is not the official policy. If everyone wants to have a demonstration they should get permission from the minister interior and state the demonstration will take place.’

He added that those who wish to organise protests must get official permission from the interior ministry.  

‘With no freedom of speech we go into a dictatorship which is against the rules of Islam,’ he said. ‘But we do not want a chaotic situation to be brought and we had some ISIS people posing at demonstrations trying to get into the presidential palace and explode themselves.’

With regards to the reported attacks on journalists, Shaheen said that any such attacks in the future would investigated.  

Speaking on the BBC's Today Programme, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen (pictured in March earlier this year) said that after 20 years of fighting, the new leaders of Afghanistan wanted to build a 'welfare state' for its people

Speaking on the BBC’s Today Programme, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen (pictured in March earlier this year) said that after 20 years of fighting, the new leaders of Afghanistan wanted to build a ‘welfare state’ for its people

‘With the passage of time we will legislate about journalists’ freedom of speech so they can work peacefully. These incidents will be investigated.’ 

Earlier this week, Taliban fighters were seen to beat female protesters and opened fire to disperse demonstrators in Kabul – just hours after the Islamists banned rallies.

The militants announced a moratorium on demonstrations ‘for the time being’ on Wednesday night after the group was humiliated by viral images of women standing up to them.

Footage posted online purported to show Taliban fighters beating female protesters in the streets – with one militant seen striking a woman with a crutch, hitting her on the arm before chasing her away. 

‘They should share their concerns with the official authority, work with them and know the realities of the situation which is rather than sitting and hiding they will have all their basic rights,’ the Taliban spokesman claimed.

‘I know the policy. They [women] can go to the bazaar, they can go shopping. I don’t know if someone is posing as the Taliban asking these questions and giving us a bad name. Of course we are committed to that [letting women work]. 

Pictured: Taliban forces stand guard at a roadside Afghan women hold placards during a pro-Taliban rally outside the Shaheed Rabbani Education University in Kabul, Afghanistan, 11 September 2021

Pictured: Taliban forces stand guard at a roadside Afghan women hold placards during a pro-Taliban rally outside the Shaheed Rabbani Education University in Kabul, Afghanistan, 11 September 2021

‘They can come to work, We call on all female employees to resume their work. So the policy is there and will be completed in days.’ 

Afghanistan has now been under Taliban rule for almost a month, with Kabul falling on August 15. But for many in the country, it will take far longer to forgive the U.S. and other Western nations for leaving the country to the militants.

‘The misfortunes we are currently experiencing are because of America,’ said Abdul Waris, a Kabul resident, as the white flags of the Taliban emblazoned with lines from the Koran hung from nearby lampposts.

Some of the mostly young men who spoke to Reuters news agency complained that U.S. forces had not tried to help the Afghan people.

‘After the September 11 events took place, the Americans were in our country for 20 years for their own benefit,’ said Jalil Ahmad.

‘They took the benefits they had in mind for 20 years while we did not get any benefit from them. They have left the country in a state of confusion.’

Bearded Taliban fighters with guns slung over their shoulders were visible around the capital but the mood was quiet and calm following the dramatic changes of recent weeks.

Footage posted online purported to show one militant seen striking a woman with a crutch, hitting her on the arm before chasing her away

 Footage posted online purported to show one militant seen striking a woman with a crutch, hitting her on the arm before chasing her away

‘Now there is security and security is good… May God give the Taliban more strength to maintain this (calm) forever,’ said resident Gul Agha Laghmni.

U.S. forces toppled the Taliban after the 9/11 attacks because they had provided sanctuary to Osama bin Laden, leader of al Qaeda, which carried out the attacks.

Since returning to power last month, the Taliban has appointed an acting cabinet including several former militants held by the United States in Guantanamo Bay.

Western leaders have expressed concern over the outlook for human rights, especially for women, under Taliban rule. Several street protests led by women have been broken up in the past two weeks, and some people have been detained and beaten. The Taliban have promised to investigate such incidents.

When they were last in power from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban imposed a strict version of Islamic law and often punished people with public floggings, amputations and executions. Women’s rights to work and education were severely restricted.

There were relatively few women on the streets of Kabul on Saturday, and all those who were out had their heads covered – a fact welcomed by residents such as Shah Raoof.

‘In the presence of America, there was a lot of commotion in our country. Women were unveiled,’ he said. ‘The majority of our youth fled, a number were martyred and a number of others were afflicted by America through war and misery.’    

Not all Afghan women are against the new Taliban regime, however. 

Pictured: Afghan students listen to women speakers prior to their pro-Taliban rally outside the Shaheed Rabbani Education University in Kabul, Afghanistan, 11 September 2021

Pictured: Afghan students listen to women speakers prior to their pro-Taliban rally outside the Shaheed Rabbani Education University in Kabul, Afghanistan, 11 September 2021

On Saturday, hundreds of pro-Taliban Afghan women attended a lecture at Kabul university wearing in full-face veils in support of the new regime’s hardline policies on gender segregation. 

About 300 women – covered head-to-toe in accordance with strict new dress policies for education – waved white Taliban flags as speakers railed against the West and expressed support for the Islamists’ policies.

A handful wore blue burqas, which have only a small mesh window to see from, but most wore black niqabs covering most of the face apart from the eyes. Many also wore black gloves. 



Source link

What do you think?

Written by bourbiza

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

Mother, 38, who planned to murder her ex-partner and his new partner goes on the run from police

Sydney’s wealthy north shore weighs in on Covid-19 lockdown