As they held their first official news briefing on Tuesday since the seizure of Kabul, the Taliban said they wanted peaceful relations with other countries and would respect the rights of women within the framework of Islamic law. The Taliban suggesting a softer line then during their rule 20 years ago; during their 1996-2001 rule the Taliban stopped women from working and meted out punishments including public stoning. Girls were not allowed to go to school and women had to wear all-enveloping burqas to go out and then only when accompanied by a male relative. The U.N. Human Rights Council will hold a special session in Geneva next week to address “serious human rights concerns” after the Taliban takeover.

The Taliban press conference came as the United States and Western allies resumed evacuating diplomats and civilians the day after chaos at Kabul airport ensued. The State Department also said on Tuesday that Washington had completed a drawdown of embassy personnel from Kabul and remaining diplomats were assisting in the evacuation. U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said they had agreed to hold a virtual meeting of Group of Seven leaders next week to discuss a common strategy and approach to Afghanistan, hoping to assess how to respond to the situation.

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