Kabul: Nearly two weeks after they took over Afghanistan, the Taliban have admitted that the Afghan women are not safe under its current regime and have directed them to work from home.
Addressing a news conference, Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid has said that women should not go to work for their own safety, undermining the group`s efforts to convince international observers that the group would be more tolerant towards women than when they were last in power.
As per a CNN report, Mujahid said that the measure was necessary because the Taliban "keep changing and are not properly trained." When last in power between 1996 and 2001 the militant group banned Afghan women from the workplace, stopped them from leaving the home unaccompanied and forced them to cover their entire bodies.
The new direction from the Taliban came after the World Bank halted funding in Afghanistan, citing concerns about the safety of women, and within hours of the UN calling for a "transparent and prompt investigation" into reports of human rights abuses since the Taliban takeover, dealing another blow to an economy that relies heavily on foreign aid.
Meanwhile, the Taliban have promised its new era will be more moderate, but Taliban leaders have refused to guarantee women`s rights will not be stripped back and many have already faced violence.
The Taliban also warned on Tuesday that the US must stick to next week`s deadline to pull out, and said they were "not allowing the evacuation of Afghans anymore," though a source familiar with the situation said that the apparent ban had not yet had a discernible effect on arrivals at Kabul airport.
The source said some priority local Afghans would get help in the coming hours, the source said, though some applicants for the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program -- an avenue for Afghans who worked for US forces and agencies to get out of the country -- would have to wait.
The Pentagon has said on Wednesday that a total of 19,000 evacuees left Afghanistan in the last 24 hours, including 11,200 people flying on 42 US military aircraft and another 7,800 evacuated by coalition partners.
A frantic Western evacuation operation at Kabul`s airport has provided the only faint opportunity for many Afghans to escape the country in recent days, and crowds outside the facility have swelled since the militants seized power.