UPDATE ON AUG 18, 05:48 PM IST
From no education for women to giving interview to a woman presenter, the Taliban want to convey the message that it has come a long way, though reports and videos of atrocities paint a different picture.
In a surprise move, the Taliban which managed to capture Afghanistan easily after the United States started to withdraw their troops, the insurgent group addressed a press conference on Tuesday triggering discussion over Taliban 1.0 and Taliban 2.0, probably a milder version. Distancing themselves from their earlier hardline stance, the leadership on Tuesday said they do not want any rivalry inside or outside. Amnesty for all, women rights, press freedom are the official policies of the Taliban now that it is setting out to rule the country. The Taliban leaders also interacted with journalists who were present at the meet.
“Slowly, gradually, the world will see all our leaders, there will be no shadow of secrecy,” the senior Taliban official, who declined to be identified, told Reuters.
Hibatullah Akhundzada and Abdul Ghani Baradar are the two main components of the Taliban at present. Baradar is one of the founding members of the group, the other one being Mullah Mohammed Omar. Zabihullah Mujahid who addressed the press meet is the spokesperson of the group. But it was a rare occasion that he came out to address the press and interacted with them as most of his earlier communications were through video/audio messages.
Attempt to be in the mainstream
The recent moves of the Taliban after they reached Kabul indicate that they are looking for a larger acceptance by Afghans. At the same time, they are attempting an image makeover and that’s why they now want to come out of their shadow of secrecy. When the Taliban were in power from 1996 to 2001, they were recognised only by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. This time, they are looking for more acceptance.