On Tuesday, the Taliban declared an "amnesty" across Afghanistan and asked women to join their administration, attempting to ease anxieties in a tense capital city where turmoil erupted at the airport the day before as people attempted to flee their authority.
Enamullah Samangani, a member of the Taliban's cultural council, offered the first comments on governance from a federal level following the Taliban's blitz across the country.
While there have been no big reports of abuses or fighting in Kabul, many citizens have stayed at home, frightened of rebels who have emptied prisons and plundered armories. Older generations recall their ultraconservative Islamic beliefs, which included stonings, amputations, and public executions before the US-led invasion that followed the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
"The Islamic Emirate does not want women to be victims," Samangani said, referring to Afghanistan as the militants refer to it. " They should be in the governing framework”, according to Shariah law.
"The government structure is not quite clear," he continued, "but based on experience, there should be a truly Islamic leadership and all factions should unite."
Sarangani, on the other hand, remained vague on other issues, signaling that people were already aware of the Taliban's expectations in terms of Islamic law.
He said, "The people are Muslims, and we are not here to convert them to Islam."
Women were primarily confined to their houses during the Taliban, who controlled according to a strict interpretation of Islamic law. In recent years, the insurgents have attempted to create a more moderate image, but many Afghans remain dubious.
Meanwhile, NATO's chief civilian representative in Afghanistan, Stefano Pontecorvo, shared the footage online on Tuesday showing the runway vacant and American forces on the tarmac. From behind a chain-link fence in the film, what seemed to be a military cargo jet could be seen in the distance.
He tweeted that the runway was "open." "I'm watching planes land and take off."
Thousands of people have been injured in the fighting across Afghanistan, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross. Security personnel and politicians surrendered their provinces and bases without a fight, most likely fearing that the two-decade Western attempt to rebuild Afghanistan would be undone by the Taliban's resurgence. The final American troops were scheduled to leave by the end of the month.
Joe Biden, a defiant US President, said on Monday that he remained "squarely behind" his decision to withdraw American personnel and acknowledged the "heartbreaking" pictures unfolding in Kabul. Biden said he had to choose between following through on a previously agreed-upon military withdrawal and sending thousands of more troops back to start the third decade of war.
"After 20 years, I've learned the hard way that there was never an appropriate time to withdraw US soldiers," Biden said in a videotaped message from the White House.
The Taliban and top Afghan government officials, including former President Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, who had chaired the country's negotiating council, looked to be in talks.
President Ashraf Ghani fled the country earlier this year as the Taliban advanced, and his whereabouts are unclear.
Senior Taliban leader Amir Khan Muttaqi has arrived in Kabul from Qatar, according to an official with firsthand knowledge of the negotiations who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to brief journalists. Muttaqi served as the Taliban's former minister of higher education. Even before Ghani went, Muttaqi began contacting Afghan political heavyweights.