Taliban spokesman says "war is over in Afghanistan" - Al Jazeera


FILE PHOTO: Mohammad Naeem, spokesman for the Taliban's political office, speaks during a joint news conference in Moscow, Russia March 19, 2021. Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool via REUTERS

CAIRO (Reuters) -The spokesman for the Taliban's political office on Sunday declared the war was over in Afghanistan and called for peaceful relations with the international community.

Spokesman Mohammad Naeem said in interviews with Al Jazeera TV the Taliban did not want to live in isolation and the type of rule and the form of regime would be clear soon.

The group respected women's and minorities' rights and freedom of expression within Sharia law, Naeem added.

Naeem said the Taliban wanted to have peaceful relations and was keen to develop several channels of communication it had already opened with foreign countries.

"We ask all countries and entities to sit with us to settle any issues", he said in an interview with Al Jazeera TV.

Taliban insurgents entered Kabul on Sunday and President Ashraf Ghani left Afghanistan saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed, bringing the Islamist militants close to taking over the country two decades after they were overthrown by a U.S.-led invasion.

Naeem said that no diplomatic body or headquarters was targeted in the Taliban's approach and the group would provide safety for citizens and diplomatic missions.

Ghani's escape was unexpected and "even those close to him did not expect it," Naeem said.

"We are ready to have a dialogue with all Afghan figures and will guarantee them the necessary protection," he told Al Jazeera Mubasher TV.

The Taliban was seeing the fruits of its efforts and sacrifices for 20 years, he said, and would adopt a policy of non-interference in others' affairs in return for non-interference in Afghanistan.

"We have reached what we were seeking, which is the freedom of our country and the independence of our people," he said. "We will not allow anyone to use our lands to target anyone, and we do not want to harm others."

"We do not think that foreign forces will repeat their failed experience in Afghanistan once again."

(Reporting by Nayera Abdallah, Additional reporting by Omar Fahmy; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Diane Craft and Jane Wardell)

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