People try to get into Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer

The Taliban on Tuesday urged skilled Afghans not to flee the country and asked America to stop taking “Afghan experts” such as engineers and doctors out of Kabul, as US-led troops have ramped up operations to evacuate tens of thousands of people including many Afghans on a daily basis.

“This country needs their expertise. They should not be taken to other countries,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told a press conference in the capital Kabul. 

“They should not encourage the Afghan people to flee Afghanistan.”

“They [the US and its Nato allies] have planes, they have the airport, they should get their citizens and contractors out of here,” Mujahid argued, renewing the warning on Tuesday that they would not accept an extension to the August 31 deadline set by President Biden for withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghan soil.

Earlier on 24 Aug, Tuesday, a Taliban commander ordered Ashraf Ghani, an economist at Afghan finance ministry, back to work so he could help run the country once the “crazy foreigners” had left.

“He said don’t panic or try to go into hiding, the officials need your expertise to run our country after the crazy foreigners leave,” Haidari, 47, told Reuters.

To fit in with the norms of the previous Taliban rule, when they brutally enforced a strict interpretation of Islamic law, Haidari grew a beard, and swapped his suit for traditional Afghan robes to meet his new bosses.

Taliban spokespeople have sought to reassure Afghans that they were not out for revenge and that they would allow women to work, as long as their jobs were consistent with Islamic law.

But reports of house-to-house searches, women being forced from jobs and reprisals against former security officials and ethnic minorities have made people wary. 

The Taliban have vowed to investigate reported abuses.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told reporters in Kabul on Tuesday that it “was time for people to work for their country”. 

He added that the Taliban were working on procedures for female government workers to return to their jobs but that for now they should stay home for “security” reasons.


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