Taliban Promise Peace, but Doubt and Fear Persist


This month, after outlasting a superpower, the Taliban walked to control on a road paved with mass surrenders. The question now is how magnanimous they will be in victory, and how eager for international recognition and aid — in other words, how different from the Taliban of a generation ago.

Taliban leaders including Amir Khan Muttaqi, a former information minister, are in talks with one-time adversaries, like the former U.S.-backed president, Hamid Karzai, about the shape of a new government, the Taliban said. Mr. Mujahid offered no hint of what would emerge, saying “give us time.”

But the involvement of Mr. Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, a former chief executive of the government, who are well known to world leaders, could give some legitimacy to any deal. Mr. Mujahid said the Taliban want friendly relations with the world, including the United States.

“If the Taliban had wanted a one-sided government, they would have already declared an Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan yesterday in the presidential palace,” said Maulvi Qalamuddin, a former Taliban minister who reconciled long ago with what is now the former U.S.-backed Afghan government. “They would have announced their cabinet. But no, in fact, they were waiting for this.”

The mayor of Kabul, Muhammed Daoud Sultanzoy, said in a video message that the Taliban had left him in office — at least for now — and the health minister, Wahid Majroh, also remained in place.

But there has been at least one effort to open a resistance to the Taliban. Amrullah Saleh, the vice president of the toppled government, said he would take up the effort in Panjshir, a northern province that remained a thorn at the Taliban’s side the last time they were in power.

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