The Taliban has insisted they will allow women in Afghanistan to maintain the rights they have gained since the group’s last reign of terror – but clarified this would be ‘within the limits of Islam’.
It comes as harrowing reports claim the group has been targeting children as young as 12 to become sex slaves in previously conquered parts of the country.
Fighters are said to have gone door-to-door to daub paint on the houses of female activists to mark their locations.
Female Afghan journalists are said to be fearing for their lives after being ‘taken off air’ in the days since the country fell.
Speaking at the Taliban’s first press conference this afternoon, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed to ‘recognise the rights of women that Islam gave them’.
He said: ‘We are going to allow women to work and study, within frameworks of course.
‘Women are going to be very active in society but within the frameworks of Islam.’
He added: ‘We recognise the rights of the women that Islam gave them. Women can work, they can go to the school, they can work in schools, they can work in hospitals.
‘We assure the world there will be no exorcist against the women and everything will be done under Islamic laws.’
When asked if women can continue to work in the media in the same way as before, the spokesman replied: ‘Let’s wait and see what the future government is going to say, our laws when it comes to media and other sectors are going to be such that everyone should be able to work but within the framework of the Islamic sharia laws.
‘Currently we cannot present you with everything clearly, let’s wait for the government to be formed and the laws to be promulgated.’
Malala Yousafzai has said she has ‘deep concerns’ for girls and women, calling on world leaders to take ‘urgent’ action.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner, who was shot in the head by the group nine years ago, told BBC’s Newsnight: ‘I had the opportunity to talk to a few activists in Afghanistan, including women’s rights activists, and they are sharing their concern that they are not sure what their life is going to be like.’
The Taliban declared an ‘amnesty’ across Afghanistan and urged women to join their government earlier on Tuesday.
They vowed not to ‘hold any grudges’ or ‘revenge anybody’, claiming to want no more war at the press conference today.
Officials are committed to building up the country’s economy and desire a ‘free and independent media’, it was claimed.
But Mr Mujahid said the press should engage in no activity that is ‘against Islamic values.