Search icon


17th Aug 2021

Taliban host first press conference in Kabul after Afghanistan takeover

Danny Jones

Taliban militants give their first live press conference, days after completing their takeover of Afghanistan

The Taliban has held its first press conference in Kabul since it took over control of Afghanistan.

He began the press conference by stating “after 20 years of struggle we have emancipated [the country] and expelled foreigners”, adding, “This is a proud moment for the whole nation.”

“Unfortunately the last government was weak, they didn’t keep their promises”, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, said.

Mujahid tells Kabul residents “their security is ensured” as he addresses Afghans for the first time since the group took control.

Mujahid urged international authorities not to interfere and insisted that “nobody will be harmed,” provided their “religious principles […] rules and regulations” remain intact.

He also added that “[We] are committed to the rights of women under the system of sharia [Islamic law]“, after millions around the world have expressed concern for women who were oppressed under the previous Taliban rule.

“They are going to be working shoulder to shoulder with us. We would like to assure the international community that there will be no discrimination.”

“We are going to allow women to work and study within our frameworks. Women are going to be very active within our society, within our framework.” The same assurances were also given to young girls being able to continue attending school and receive an education.

After questions from journalists queried what private media will now look like, Mujahid said it will continue to be “free and independent”, so as long as it works within the nation’s “cultural frameworks.”

Mujahid clarified that an official government is yet to be organised and that once it has, information surrounding new laws and apparently universal pardons will become clearer.

Perhaps one of the standout phrases from the Taliban address was that of how the Afghan state will differ compared to 2001: “Our country is a Muslim nation, whether it was 20 years ago, or if it is now. But when it comes to experience and maturity and vision, of course, there is a huge difference between us now and 20 years ago”.

You can watch the full press conference below:

As for the political commentators that were invited on to the BBC News broadcast following the conference, the general consensus seemed to be that what was said by Mujahid and officials is likely to be very different from how Afghanistan under the Taliban looks in reality.

Two out of the four guests intimated that the Taliban had very much “put on a show” in hopes of seeking out foreign aid, as the state does not currently have the finances to survive without help from other international organisations. One of the issues that was broached was the opium crisis that has historically helped finance the Taliban.

Assurances to the media are one thing – especially considering the country is bankrupt and this could be perceived as essentially putting out a call for foreign aid – but how the next days, weeks and months will unfold is another.

BBC Afghan Service’s Sana Safi admitted that will the Taliban said “all good things on paper”; she believes that “we are being fooled” and that her experience growing up under sharia law was very different from the life described in this press conference.

Related links