The Taliban “want to build the future, and forget what happened in the past,” spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid claimed in an interview with The New York Times, the first time he’s sat down with a Western media outlet since the group took control of most of Afghanistan earlier this month.
It’s the latest attempt by the Taliban to assure Afghans and the international community that they intend to be more lenient than when they were last in power — an effort that has been met with skepticism by many analysts, who view it as nothing more than a public relations campaign. Either way, Mujahid denied reports of retribution killings outside of Kabul, said women won’t need to be accompanied by a male guardian unless they’re taking trips that last longer than three days and that a warning for them to stay home is only temporary, and reiterated that Afghans with valid travel documents are still free to leave the country.
One thing he did acknowledge is that music will again be banned in public, but he said the Taliban are hoping to “persuade” rather than “pressure” people into complying with such restrictions. Read more at The New York Times.