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Music will be banned in Afghanistan and women will need a male chaperone if they travel alone

  • Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the New York Times that the terrorist group will be more liberal than they were 20 years ago

  • He said the Taliban would let women return to school and their jobs in the future - as long as they wear a hijab head covering

  • He also denied reports that the Taliban would once again force women to stay inside, like they did from 1996 - 2001 and would flog them for misbehaving

  • Mujahid also denied reports that the group is hunting down former American allies

  • He added that he hopes that the Taliban could work with the international community in the future

  • But, he said, music will be banned in the country and women will need a male chaperone on trips that take several days

  • His remarks come just one day after he gave a press conference warning women to stay inside while they train their forces to properly treat women

A Taliban leader has announced that music will be banned in Afghanistan and women will be required to travel with a male chaperone on trips that last several days, even as he promises the Taliban will be more liberal than they were 20 years ago.

In an interview with the New York Times, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said while women will eventually be allowed to return to work and go on trips to school, and hospitals, they would need a male chaperone for trips that last several days.

And music will be banned in the country.

'Music is forbidden in Islam, but we're hoping that we can persuade people not to do such things, instead of pressure them,' Mujahid said.

Still, he said, things will be different under this Taliban rule than the previous regime.

'We want to build the future and forget what happened in the past,' he said, rejecting reports that the Taliban is already extracting vengeance on those who opposed them and are trying to reimpose the harsh restrictions on women that made them notorious when they first took control in 1996.

He suggested to the New York Times that the Taliban will let women return to their jobs in the future - as long as they wear a head covering - and said concerns that the Taliban would once again force women to stay inside or cover their faces are baseless.

During their previous time in power, Afghan women could only leave the house in a burqa - a shapeless covering which covers the head and entire body, with only a fabric mesh to see out of.

He also said that those with proper travel documents will be able to leave the country, and that his regime will not hunt down former interpreters and others who have worked with the American military over the years, but expressed frustration at American evacuation efforts.

'They shouldn't interfere in our country and take out our human resources: doctors, professors and other people we need here,' Mujahid said. 'In America, they might become dishwashers or cooks. It's inhuman.'

But, he said, he is still hopeful that the Taliban could build good relationships with the international community, saying they have already cooperated with international leaders on issues like counterterrorism, opium eradication and the reduction of refugees to the West.

Mujahid's remarks come one day after he announced at a press conference that women should remain inside 'until we have a new procedure' in place, while the Taliban trains its forces not to harass women.

'We are worried our forces, who are new and have not been yet trained very well, may mistreat women,' he said. 'We don't want our forces, God forbid, to harm or harass women.'

In the meantime, he said, women's salaries will be paid in their homes, echoing what Ahmadullah Waseq, the deputy of the Taliban’s cultural affairs committee, told the Times: that the Taliban has 'no problems with working women' as long as they wear hijabs.

But under the old Taliban rule, women were not allowed to attend school and faced public flogging if they were found to have violated morality rules, like one requiring that they be fully covered.

At the time, the Times reports, the Taliban also said the restrictions on women will be temporary.

'The explanation was that the security was not good, and they were waiting for security to be better, and then women would be able to have more freedom,' said Heather Barr, the associate director of women's rights at Human Rights Watch.

'But of course in those years they were in power, that moment never arrived - and I can promise you Afghan women hearing this today are thinking it will never arrive this time either.'

She said the Taliban is only claiming to be more liberal as they have the world's media attention on them.

'They're trying to look normal and legitimate and this will last as long as the international community and the international press are still there,' she said. 'And then we'll see what they're really like again.'

US citizens are told to STOP coming to Kabul airport due to terror threat leaving up to 1.5K including 23 California students stranded: Blinken BLAMES them for not leaving earlier as CIA start helicopter rescue missions

American citizens trying to get in to Kabul airport and leave the country were told on Wednesday night to immediately leave the area, due to a new and sudden terror threat.

'Due to threats outside the Kabul airport, US citizens should avoid traveling to the airport and avoid airport gates unless you receive instructions to do so,' the State Department tweeted on Wednesday night.

'Those at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately.'

The order to leave the gates was issued at 3:30am local time in Kabul on Thursday morning.

Fears are mounting that the Islamic State affiliate in the region, ISIS-K, could try and launch an attack on the crowds masses outside the airport. Joe Biden on Tuesday warned that ISIS-K were believed to be attempting to target departing jets, as he explained why it was unlikely that U.S. forces will remain in the area beyond August 31.

Up to 1,500 Americans are still trapped in Afghanistan and the U.S. is still relying on the Taliban to allow safe passage to Kabul airport with just six days before the deadline, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a press conference on Wednesday.

Blinken gave his first briefing on the airlift operation and the bid to get all citizens and Afghan allies out amid reports the CIA has joined U.S. troops in helicopter rescue missions outside the airport perimeter.

Thousands of people are still trying to leave Afghanistan as U.S. troops start leaving and evacuation flights begin to wrap up, but are being stopped and beaten by insurgents on their way.

Among those left are 23 school children from California Cajon Valley Union School District and 16 parents who visited the war zone on a summer trip to see extended family and haven't been able to leave.

Blinken blamed Americans still on the ground for not leaving fast enough after first being warned earlier this year to leave Afghanistan as soon as possible, but said there would be 'no deadline' in helping those who still want to leave.

He spoke as a CIA officer told that American civilians and Afghan allies have just 72 hours before evacuations end and Biden cracked a joke about the evacuation crisis at a cybersecurity summit.

NBC reporter Peter Alexander asked the president what he would do if there were Americans trapped in Afghanistan after August 31.

The microphone was cut before Biden could reply, but he cracked a smile and said 'You'll be the first person I call.'

Blinken said the US has been in 'direct contact' with roughly 500 confirmed U.S. citizens and 'provided specific instructions for how to get to the airport safely.'

The State Department said there are roughly 1,000 other people whose status is still being established.

'We're aggressively reaching out to them multiple times a day,' he said of those 1,000 people, adding they're looking 'to determine whether they still want to leave and to get them the most up-to-date information and instructions for them on how to do so.'

'Some may no longer be in the country. Some may have claimed to be Americans but turn out not to be. Some may choose to stay,' Blinken said

'We'll continue to try and identify the status and plans of these people in the coming days.'

A short time later a journalist covering Afghanistan wrote on Twitter that the Taliban blocked all roads leading to Kabul airport.

Only Afghans 'accompanied by foreigners' are reportedly allowed through.

'Taliban refused to let a friend, a dual Afghan-Australian citizen, from entering airport today,' Frud Bezhan wrote.

About 4,500 U.S. citizens and immediate family members have been evacuated over the last 10 days.

As many as 6,000 Americans who wanted to leave Afghanistan were in the country when the Taliban took Kabul last week.

Biden posted a statement to Twitter on Wednesday afternoon vowing to help people still stuck there but did not provide further explanation.

'We're going to do everything that we can to provide safe evacuation for Americans, our Afghan allies, partners, and Afghans who might be targeted because of their association with the United States,' the president wrote.

The CIA has joined the US military in evacuation efforts, launching clandestine operations to rescue Americans in and outside of Kabul, the Wall Street Journal reports. The military's operations have been more limited in comparison, focusing on US citizen trapped within the Afghan capital.

CIA operations include air and ground missions and use US military helicopters under the agency's control.

Read more....


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