Taliban Wants Afghan President to Step Down Before Ceasefire

A Taliban spokesman said women would have more rights under the new government than during earlier Taliban rule

In an interview with The Associated Press, a Taliban spokesman said there won’t be peace in Afghanistan until a new government is formed and President Ashraf Ghani steps down.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen called Ghani a “warmonger” and accused him of using his Tuesday speech on the Muslim holiday of Eid to call for an offensive against the Taliban. Shaheen also brought up allegations that the 2019 election Ghani won was fraudulent. Both Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah claimed victory in the election.

Shaheen said there must be an agreement on a new government that is acceptable to the Taliban and to other Afghans. If that happens, he insisted, “there will be no war.”

Shaheen said the Taliban does not want to monopolize power in any future government that might be formed. “I want to make it clear that we do not believe in the monopoly of power because any governments who [sought] to monopolize power in Afghanistan in the past, were not successful governments,” he said. “So we do not want to repeat that same formula.”

The Taliban spokesman also brought up women’s rights, an issue that is frequently used as an argument in Western media for why the US should continue the war since the Taliban is notoriously oppressive towards women. Even George W. Bush claimed he cared about the women of Afghanistan when he warned against President Biden’s decision to leave the country.

Shaheen sought to ease those fears in his discussion with AP. He said under the new government, women will be allowed to work, go to school, and participate in politics. He added that Taliban commanders in districts recently captured have orders to allow women to carry on as before.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.