Taliban call for talks: ‘War in Afghanistan is over’

The Taliban have taken power in Afghanistan after they also largely took control of the capital Kabul. In the presidential palace in Kabul, representatives of the Islamic fundamentalists officially declared victory, according to images broadcast by the Arab channel al-Jazeera. In a video message, top Taliban leader Mullah Baradar stated that “the real test of effective government is now going to begin by solving citizens’ problems”. He noted that the rapid conquest of the country has never been seen before.

Mullah Baradar, in a video, congratulated the citizens of Kabul on the victory of the Taliban. He also addressed the Taliban fighters: “We have reached an unexpected and unique situation”. “That has happened with the help of God, but it should not make us arrogant,” he added.

Communication

The Taliban want to maintain relations with the international community. A spokesman for the Islamist extremists told Al-Jazeera local time on Sunday that the Taliban wants to expand the communication lines they have with various countries and that they do not want Afghanistan to become isolated.

“The war in Afghanistan is over. We ask all countries and organizations to sit down with us and solve the problems we have,” spokesman Mohammad Naeem told the channel. He went on to say that the Taliban will soon announce how they will govern the country.

According to him, the group will respect the rights of women and minorities and freedom of expression, but within the context of Sharia, Islamic customary law.

According to the Taliban spokesman, no diplomatic agency was targeted by the Taliban’s approach, and they will leave civilians and diplomatic missions alone. “We have achieved what we sought, namely the freedom of our country and the independence of our people. We will not allow anyone to target our country, and we do not want to harm others. We don’t think foreign troops will repeat their failed experience in Afghanistan again.”

Foreign forces must leave

Reuters news agency has also been in touch with another senior Taliban leader, who said it is “too early to say how we will take over the administration”. The man, who asked to remain anonymous, said the Taliban “want all foreign forces to leave before we start restructuring the administration”. The man also said that Taliban fighters in Kabul had been ordered not to frighten the civilian population and to allow them to continue their normal activities.

Meanwhile, a former adviser to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani told al-Jazeera that, foreign troops in Kabul to evacuate foreigners, should stay until the Taliban fulfill their promises.

Evacuations

The US Departments of the Interior and Defense have released a statement outlining their plans for evacuations from Kabul in the coming days. Thousands of people are currently at the city’s airport to be evacuated. Since yesterday, only military aircraft have left Kabul, aiming to restore civilian air traffic.

Joint statement

More than 60 countries, including the US, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, South Korea, and Italy, have issued a joint statement calling on the Taliban to give people who want to leave Afghanistan the opportunity to do so. “Those in power in Afghanistan and in authority are responsible – and accountable – for protecting life and property and for the immediate restoration of order and security,” the statement said.

The statement further states that “The Afghan people deserve to live in safety, security and dignity. We as the international community are ready to help them.”

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