A Taliban spokesperson insisted to Fox News on Friday that “there will be no issue about women’s rights” following the militant group’s takeover of Afghanistan, despite widespread international concerns.
But Suhail Shaheen also said he opposes Western views that “women should have an education without [a] hijab.”
“That is a change of culture,” he said. “Our culture… they can receive education with hijab. They can work with hijab.”
When asked about future relations with the U.S., Shaheen said, “We should be focusing how can we work together in a positive and constructive way which is in the best of interest of both sides.”
“There will be no issue about the women’s rights. No problem about their education, their work,” he added. “But we should not be after changing each other’s culture as we are not intending to change your culture, you should not be changing our culture.”
Shaheen also described the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan as the closure of one chapter in the country’s history.
“We have closed one chapter. For us it was occupation. We ended that, we were staging resistance,” he told Fox News. “But now it is closed. It is the past. We have to focus on the future that is better for them and for us.”
Shaheen’s comments Friday came as reports are emerging that a new interim government will be announced soon in Kabul. And Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will be in charge of that, sources told Reuters.
A source close to the militant group told the news agency that the interim government would consist only of Taliban members, contain 25 ministries and a consultative council of a dozen Muslim scholars.
At the top levels, Baradar will be joined by Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, the son of Mullah Omar – the late Taliban co-founder, multiple sources also said.
“All the top leaders have arrived in Kabul, where preparations are in final stages to announce the new government,” a Taliban official told Reuters while speaking on condition of anonymity.