Taliban refuse to rule out stoning, amputations in 'Islamic courts'
Suhail Shaheen, a spokesperson for the militant group, refused to guarantee that Afghans would be protected from stoning to death when questioned by a BBC journalist at a press conference on Sunday.
The Taliban were notorious for implementing amputations for theft, stoning to death for alleged adultery, and other forms of punishment during their rule of Afghanistan, which came to an end with the invasion of the country by US-led forces two decades ago.
"I can't say right now, that is up to the religious followers and the courts. They will decide about the punishment," he said after being asked specifically about the chopping off of hands and feet, stonings. and state killings.
The comments came as Shaheen otherwise sought to calm fears about the return of the group to power, which ruled Afghanistan between the years of 1996 to 2001.
He also failed to guarantee that its leadership can control all of its fighters and that women's rights will be protected.
"We assure the people, particularly in the city of Kabul, that their properties, their lives are safe," the spokesman said in the interview.
During Taliban rule, women were not allowed to work or leave their house without a male chaperone, while schooling for women and girls over the age of 10 was stigmatised.
However, Shaheen said women will be able to carry on with their lives so long as they adhere to Islamic dress.
"We will respect rights of women - our policy is that women will have access to education and work, to wear the hijab," he said.
He added that the Taliban’s current ethos is that “no one should leave the country" because "we need all the talents and capacity, we need all of us to stay in the country and participate".
Women across Afghanistan, including journalists, have been pleading for help as the militant group carries out a swift takeover of the country, including the capital Kabul on Sunday.
Female journalists gave anonymous accounts to The Guardian about fearing for their lives because of their work, especially in the shadow of previous death threats from the Taliban.
"Firstly I am worried about myself because I am a girl, and also a woman journalist," one woman said. "In provinces, they took some girls for themselves and used them as slaves."
Many scrambled to send identity documentations to embassies for asylum while deleting all social media profiles and traces of their work for their safety.