KABUL: The Taliban said Tuesday the war in Afghanistan was over and that all their opponents would be pardoned, as they held their first news conference since seizing power from the Western-backed government in Kabul.
"War has ended... (the leader) has pardoned everyone," spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said, adding: "We are committed to letting women work in accordance with the principles of Islam."
Shortly before he spoke, the Taliban's deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar - who also co-founded the movement - arrived in Kandahar, landing in the insurgent group's former capital just days after they took control of the country. Mujahid said the Taliban would soon be establishing a government, but gave little detail of its make-up apart from saying they would "connect with all sides".
"All those in the opposite side are pardoned from A to Z," he said.
"We will not seek revenge."
Asked what the difference between the movement that was ousted 20 years ago and the Taliban of today, he said: "If the question is based on ideology, and beliefs, there is no difference... but if we calculate it based on experience, maturity, and insight, no doubt there are many differences."
"The steps today will be positively different from the past steps," he added.