In an exclusive interview with TRT World, Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said that the leaders of the armed group are in talks with Afghan politicians in a bid to form an “inclusive government”.
The Taliban group that took control of Afghanistan on Sunday, after nearly 20 years of being ousted by a US-military coalition, is working towards shaping an inclusive and Islamic government, a spokesman for the group has said.
“We are working towards setting up an inclusive government means we do not believe or want monopoly of power,” Suhail Shaheen told TRT World.
“We want Afghans of all ethnicities to be united and be a part of the government as now is the time to build Afghanistan after the foreign forces have left.”
On Wednesday, a Taliban commander and senior leader of the Haqqani Network armed group, Anas Haqqani, met with former Afghan President Hamid Karzai for talks.
The old government’s main peace envoy, Abdullah Abdullah, was also present in the meeting, according to Taliban sources who does not wish to be named.
Shaheen did not elaborate on what that framework of an inclusive government would mean as the talks are still ongoing, but have insisted that the armed group want to establish a peaceful system within the framework of Islamic values.
“Every Afghan will be protected,” he said.
When asked whether rights to political assembly or protest will be protected Shaheen responded diplomatically with, “every thing is being started from scratch now. So of course, a new framework will be worked out, bearing in mind people’s basic right of assembly and protest.”
On Wednesday, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, had returned to Afghanistan for the first time in more than 10 years to hold talks with Afghan leaders and to secure a long-term commitment from the international community.
Baradar was arrested in 2010, but released from prison in 2018 at the request of former US President Donald Trump’s administration so he could participate in peace talks.
Rights of minorities, women
The Hazara, are an ethnic minority who have for decades been targeted by armed groups, including the Taliban and Daesh, for their ethnicity and religious beliefs.
Most of the Hazara are Shia Muslims, who have faced persecution and violence for decades, including recent attacks on a maternity hospital and a girls’ school.
Shaheen told TRT World that they would ensure protection of the community to make sure there are no attacks against the Hazara community.
“We promise to protect the Hazara minority in Afghanistan, they are Afghans, they will help shape the future of this country,” Shaheen said.
“We don’t want any more bloodshed and this why we have decided to talk, bring all parties together.”
On Tuesday, the armed group offered amnesty to everyone and vowed no retribution against opponents, respect for the rights of women, minorities and foreigners.
The Taliban group have been short on details of how they would govern the country but have been suggesting a softer stance than during their rule from 1996 to 2001.
The armed group imposed a radical interpretation of Islam during their rule, where women could not work and girls were not allowed to attend school. Women had to cover their face and be accompanied by a male relative if they left their homes.
They also banned sports and activities such as music, television, and cinema.
However, on the second day of the Taliban take over, a female TOLONews journalist, Beheshta Arghand, interviewed a senior Taliban representative Abdul Haq Hammad on air – an unimaginable sight during the time when the armed group last ruled Afghanistan.
The armed group also encouraged women to return to work and have allowed girls to return to school.
But many Afghans are skeptical and worried saying the Taliban cannot be trusted.
In response to the concerns of the Afghan people, Shaheen said that they do not want anymore destruction of the country and bloodshed.
“This is why we picked to negotiate, conduct a dialogue to bring everyone together and be on the same page before we announce a new government,” he said.
“All parties have learnt from their past mistakes, we promise the country will see peace and prosperity in the near future.”