Abdul Ghani Baradar Taliban’s co-founder returned to Afghanistan Tuesday following the group’s stunning takeover of the country, as a top spokesman insisted the insurgents will not seek “revenge” and declared a general amnesty.
Earlier in the day, the insurgents told government staff to return to work — though residents reacted cautiously and few women took to the streets.
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar’s arrival from Qatar — where he has spent months leading talks with the United States and the Afghan peace negotiators — crowns an astonishing comeback for the Taliban after being ousted 20 years ago.
Tens of thousands of people have tried to flee the country to escape the hardline Islamist rule expected under the Taliban or fearing direct retribution for siding with the US-backed government that ruled for the past two decades.
But Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told reporters the new government would be “positively different” from their 1996-2001 regime, infamous for deaths by stoning and barring women from working in contact with men.