After the military offensive that brought him back to power in Afghanistan on Sunday (15), the Taliban launched a campaign on Tuesday to try to convince the country and the world that it will not repeat to the government the atrocious regime it has. ordered from 1996 to 2001..
It started with the most obvious point, women, the prime target of the brutal repression that Islamic fundamentalists have carried out on the basis of an extremist reading of the Koran.
As a picture, this was rare in Afghanistan: one of the group’s media executives, Mwalawi Abdulhaq Hemad, sat in the studio with presenter Beheshta Arghand of the most popular Afghan television station, Tolo.
“We were all impressed, of course, this has never happened before,” journalist Ali Ahmed, who ultimately works for the channel and is hiding with relatives in a village near Kabul, said in a message. The Taliban have already given interviews to women, but always to Western networks.
On television, the Taliban announced a broad amnesty in the country, and not only for the soldiers who joined the group, as it had announced on Monday (16). He encouraged women to return to work soon and said they should be part of the next government.
It was then reinforced by a speech by Enamullah Samangani to Pakistani newspapers. He is a member of the Taliban Cultural Commission. “The Islamic Emirate does not want women to be victims. They must be in the structure of government according to Sharia law.
Then the problems begin. In addition to the fact that Samangani does not define what such a structure would look like, Sharia is Islamic law, the radical interpretation of which has extended to the extremes of areas controlled by groups such as the Taliban, the Islamic State or the government of Saudi Arabia.
Of course, there are different degrees of application, but as a rule, women are relegated to subordinate roles in public life and elevated to the status of “queens of the house”, to remain in Brazilian anachronism.
In power, the Taliban brought this to a climax. Girls’ education had to be done at home, there was no public health for women, and bodies completely covered in burqas symbolized this repression in the West.
While burqas are traditional among the Pashtuns, the majority ethnic group in Afghanistan to which the Taliban belong, their compulsory nature has shocked the world. In practice, they have continued to be used by many women over the past 20 years, especially outside of Kabul.
The Taliban are now saying they will demand the wearing of the hijab, the veil that covers the head and shoulders and leaves the face exposed.
During the two decades of Western presence, progress has been made. Schools and hospitals opened for women, they joined the military and police, and the United States spent $ 780 million on inclusion programs.
“It is hard for people to believe that they are going to change. They are doing it to rally support and for the world to recognize them,” said Ahmed.
He may be right: while spending $ 300 to $ 1.5 billion on its military campaigns per year, the group could finance itself with clandestine help from allies like the Pakistani Secret Service and profits from the sale of ‘opium.
To lead a government in a country that is no longer the ruin of several wars, as he did from 1996 until his expulsion by the United States in 2001, following his support for al-Qaeda the September 11, it will take more than that.
In an interview with the British BBC, Saad Mohseni, chairman of the Moby Media Group, which controls Tolo, said the Taliban were polite. But he said he suspected that TV content would eventually be censored, especially talk shows and entertainment.
According to Ahmed’s account, based on conversations with friends, the mood in Kabul is calm and some stores that were closed reopened on Tuesday.
But he confirms stories that locals tore up billboards with photos of women with exposed faces and says the most terrified are the Hazaras.
Members of a Shiite minority, opposed in the eyes of the Taliban to the majority branch of Islam, Sunism, they ate the bread that the devil kneaded in the government of the 1990s. Public massacres, mutilations of women and other atrocities were currency current.
Like Hindus and Sikhs, their business was small and lived almost underground. With 20 years of Western occupation, they have resumed a normal life. Now, according to Reuters, their homes are being raided in places like Mazar-i-Sharif and Herat.
India, concerned about the fate of its citizens in Kabul, carried out a repatriation flight on Tuesday using a military cargo ship.
In their effort to appear more moderate, the Taliban are sticking to their policy of not interfering in the disorderly evacuation of Westerners and others who want to leave Kabul.
There was no replay of scenes from Monday, when crowds followed American cargo ships on the runway, leading to a scene in which at least two civilians grabbed the fuselage of a C-17 and fell afterwards. takeoff, dying to the ground.
But the situation is far from under control. After having to make a detour via Uzbekistan the day before, the first German cargo ship A-400M finally managed to descend in Kabul. The huge plane, which is part of efforts to get up to 10,000 people out of the city in the coming days, took off with just seven people on board.
According to the US Department of Defense, which ordered the reopening of airspace for military flights, three US air bases abroad will be ready to affect up to 22,000 Afghans linked to the occupiers.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said when the situation calms down it will be possible to evacuate up to 9,000 people a day from Kabul. What the criteria will be for civilians is uncertain, as those who took the airport runway came from all sides.
The person responsible for the 2001 invasion, former President George W. Bush, also said on Tuesday that the United States should expand the reception program for Afghan refugees.
It is estimated that 60,000 people, former aides and their families, could later seek asylum in the United States under rules established since Joe Biden’s government announced the withdrawal of troops in April.
They remain resident in the country, focused on the evacuation of Kabul by 6,000 troops. Biden wants everyone out by the 31st, a move that precipitated the Taliban offensive that took control of Afghanistan in just two weeks.