Now in control of Afghanistan, The Taliban continue to surprise the western world. Mawlawi Abdulhaq Hemad, a key member of the Taliban media team appeared with a woman anchor, Beheshta Arghand to discuss the policies and administrative plans of the Taliban from this point onwards.
Tolo News is one of the independent news agencies functioning in Afghanistan, which The Taliban had taken over once they entered Kabul victoriously. Tolo News is under the MOBY Group but is more commonly known to be led by Saad Mohseni. It has been functional since 2004. This interview is the Taliban’s signal to its people and the international community that they are wilful to set a positive tone.
— Miraqa Popal (@MiraqaPopal) August 17, 2021
The behaviour of the Taliban upon entering Kabul on 15th August is in sharp contrast to the widespread fear ensuing impressions the world had about them. For example, BBC News consistently speculated from Sunday onwards, the fear and panic among the people, especially among minorities and women.
These images of the Taliban are but a fragment of a time when they were merely misled and frustrated by the US occupation in Afghanistan. Taliban were seen on roads tearing down billboards and posters with women without headscarves or “proper” dressing.
Please spare a thought for the people women and girls of Afghanistan. A tragedy unfolds in front of our eyes.
— Sima Bahous (@unwomenchief) August 15, 2021
"Women can have access to education"
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) August 15, 2021
However, in this time and age, the Taliban wants to be recognised by the international community and its people. That is precisely why Suhail Shaheen, the Spokesperson for the Taliban called BBC news himself and spoke with them to share the evolved Taliban, that is they are more than willing to see women receive education and go to educational institutes.
He also emphasised that the Taliban now has a novel outlook in its ideology and philosophy, thus people need not fear them, but look forward to stability instead.
TOLOnews resumed its broadcasting with a female anchor.
hoping for real freedom of speech. https://t.co/qqbUw9V71B
— Sharif Amiry (@sharifamiry1) August 17, 2021
Though the fear is natural, given that the Taliban have showcased intense oppressive and patriarchal actions back when the US forces occupied Afghanistan in 2001. Such interviews are a rare sight in Afghanistan, but it is the first step towards normalisation that the current Afghan Taliban has been speaking of.
The Taliban media spokesperson has shared that they are no longer against women and the general population continuing their daily activities. For women, however, they still have to integrate the ‘hijab’ within their lifestyle.
In a few weeks, every woman in Afghanistan will be forced to wear this. They will not be allowed to go to school. That’s what Taliban taking over means for women. That’s what the US withdrawal will do to women pic.twitter.com/1XZdML6ihW
— Ghanem Nuseibeh (@gnuseibeh) August 14, 2021
Despite antagonist feelings towards American occupation, the Taliban acknowledge that the Americans along with Europeans have invested billions of dollars in setting up infrastructure and educational facilities that must not go to waste.
The New York Times shared that “Over two decades, the United States invested more than $780 million to promote women’s rights. Girls and women have joined the military and police forces, held political office, and competed in the Olympics and on robotics teams, doing things that once seemed unimaginable.”
Remarkable, historic, heartening, but also consistent with access given to both Afghan and foreign women journalists in Doha. https://t.co/KUaK6Harj5
— Matthieu Aikins (@mattaikins) August 17, 2021
The Taliban have identified their international weakness: Image development and they are taking the required steps when the momentum is swinging in their direction. They have shared that as part of their inclusive government, women are encouraged to join and leave their fears in the past.
Very early days, but thus far the Taliban have:
*not attacked civilians or US personnel at Kabul airport.
*said women can continue work and study.
*not harmed journalists.
*told Shia Afghans they can continue religious practices.
*announced "general amnesty" for govt officials.
— CJ Werleman (@cjwerleman) August 17, 2021
The Taliban declares amnesty for #Afghanistan 🇦🇫 government officials
— Samuel Ramani (@SamRamani2) August 17, 2021