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'Hope Taliban will keep promises': Sri Lanka's first reaction on Afghanistan

A ministry statement said Sri Lanka is “happy to note that the Taliban have offered an amnesty and promised not to harm any foreigners and requests the Taliban to continue honouring that commitment”.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid at a news conference promised the group would honour women’s rights within the norms of Islamic law.
Published on Aug 21, 2021 11:14 PM IST
PTI | | Posted by Sharangee Dutta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Sri Lanka on Saturday expressed hope that the Taliban will honour their pledges of offering amnesty, protecting women’s rights and not harming any foreigners after seizing power in Afghanistan.

The Taliban vowed on Tuesday to respect women's rights, media freedom, forgive those who fought them and ensure Afghanistan does not become a haven for terrorists.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid at a news conference promised the Taliban would honour women’s rights within the norms of Islamic law, without elaborating.

Also Read | Women's rights under Islamic law to amnesty for all: What Taliban said in 1st address

In its first reaction to the Taliban taking control of Afghanistan, Sri Lankan foreign ministry expressed hope that the group would honour all is pledges made since the takeover.

A ministry statement said Sri Lanka is “happy to note that the Taliban have offered an amnesty and promised not to harm any foreigners and requests the Taliban to continue honouring that commitment”.

Sri Lanka also urges the Taliban to keep its pledge that women are allowed to work and girls can go to school.

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Colombo also hopes that an all-party mechanism will be established to take Afghanistan forward, as pledged by the Taliban, it said.

As a member of SAARC, Sri Lanka is prepared to take part “in any regional effort to prevent mass migration, religious extremist elements attempting to find a safe haven and enhanced illegal narcotic trade which can have a destabilising effect on the entire South Asian region”, the statement said.

On the Sri Lankan nationals in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka has requested the US, the UK, India, Pakistan and the UN to evacuate them, the ministry said.

So far, 46 of the 86 Sri Lankans in Afghanistan have returned while 20 more have expressed willingness to stay on in the country.

The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan on Sunday, two weeks before the US was set to complete its troop withdrawal after a costly two-decade war.

Watch here | After fleeing to UAE, Ashraf Ghani says he's 'in talks to return' to Afghanistan

The insurgents stormed across the country, capturing all major cities in a matter of days, as Afghan security forces trained and equipped by the US and its allies melted away.

Thousands of Afghan nationals are fleeing the country to escape the new Taliban regime and to seek asylum in different nations, including the US and many European nations.

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