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Afghan Women To Have Rights Within Islamic Law, Taliban Say

media captionWatch the key moments from the Taliban’s news conference

The rights of women in Afghanistan will be respected “within the framework of Islamic law”, the Taliban say.

In the group’s first news conference since taking control of the country on Sunday, a spokesman gave no details of what these freedoms would include.

Zabihullah Mujahid simply repeated that Afghans must live “within the framework of Islam”.

Human rights groups fear women’s freedoms could be eroded under the rule of the Islamists.

The militant group introduced or supported punishments in line with their strict interpretation of Islam’s legal system, Sharia law, when it controlled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001.

Women had to wear the all-covering burka, and the Taliban also disapproved of girls aged 10 and over going to school.

In the news briefing on Tuesday, Mr Mujahid fielded several questions from the international media about what women’s rights could look like under a Taliban government.

“We are going to allow women to work and study within our frameworks,” he said. “Women are going to be very active within our society.”

But he did not expand when asked about dress codes and what roles women would be able to have within the country’s workforce.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Taliban declared a general amnesty across Afghanistan and said it wanted women to join its government.

Analysts say the group is running a sophisticated PR campaign in an effort to win the hearts and minds of both Afghans and the international community.

Also at the news conference, Mr Mujahid:

  • Explained that the Taliban were actively working to form a government and it would be announced in the coming days
  • When asked about the risk of the country housing al-Qaeda fighters or other extremists, he said “Afghanistan’s soil is not going to be used against anybody”
  • He sought to strike a tone of conciliation, saying: “We don’t want any internal or external enemies”
  • The spokesman also attempted to ease fears among Afghans, promising an amnesty for former members of the security forces and those who worked with foreign powers

Taliban on a charm offensive

Analysis by Mina al-Lami, Jihadist Media Specialist, BBC Monitoring

The Taliban have been putting out a flurry of messages of assurance to locals, banks, businesses, civilian foreign workers, investors, neighbours and regional players in an effort to ease fears about how they will rule.

Aware of concerns about the rights of women and girls, the Taliban tweeted an image on 16 August showing girls “on their way to school”, saying education for girls continues.

They have also been trying to dispel “rumours” about violations by the group, and denied reports that they were forcing families to marry off their daughters to Taliban militants.

But the Taliban have not yet offered details about social matters and freedoms like women’s dress codes and their access to jobs.

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