- Taliban says they want to establish a government that includes all sides
- Don't want any internal or external enemies, the Taliban said
- There will be no retribution against anyone, the group added
The Taliban on Tuesday declared that no threat will be posed to any country from Afghanistan as the group took charge of the strife-torn country following a shockingly rapid collapse of its democratic government with the departure of most western troops.
Holding their first official news briefing since their seizure of Kabul, the Taliban also said it would respect the rights of women and allow a free media within the framework of Islamic law, suggesting a softer line than during their rule 20 years ago.
"The Islamic emirate is pledging to all world countries that no threat will be posed to any country from Afghanistan," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told reporters as he announced an Islamic government will be established in Afghanistan soon.
"We want to establish a government that includes all sides," he said, adding that they want an end to the war.
"We don't want any internal or external enemies. We do not have enmity toward anyone and based on our leader's orders we have pardoned everyone," he said.
Zabihullah Mujahid said there will be no retribution against anyone, including former military members and those who worked with the foreign forces. "No one will search their house," he said.
However, he said, "Afghans have the right to apply rules that match the people's values; therefore, other countries should respect these rules."
Claiming that there will be no discrimination against women, the Taliban spokesperson said they are committed to providing women their rights based on Islam. Women can work in the health sector and other sectors "where they are needed", he said.
During their 1996-2001 rule, also guided by Islamic law, or shariah, the Taliban stopped women from working and administered punishments including public stoning. Girls were not allowed to go to school and women had to wear all-enveloping burqas to go out.
Zabihullah Mujahid on Tuesday also said the Taliban wants all media outlets to continue their activities. "We have three suggestions: No broadcast should contradict Islamic values, they should be impartial, no one should broadcast anything that goes against our national interests," he said.
In response, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York: "We will need to see what actually happens and I think we will need to see acts on the ground in terms of promises kept."
The European Union said it would only cooperate with the Afghan government following the Taliban's return to power if they respected fundamental rights, including those of women.
"The EU calls on the Taliban to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law in all circumstances," Josep Borrell, EU foreign policy chief, said.
The Taliban news conference came as the United States and Western allies evacuated diplomats and civilians the day after scenes of chaos at Kabul airport as Afghans desperate to flee the Taliban thronged to the terminal.
Afghan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh meanwhile said he was in the country and declared himself the "legitimate caretaker president" and that he would not bow to Kabul's new rulers.
(With inputs from Reuters)