Taliban say Afghans will be able to travel freely in future

·2 min read
Taliban forces block the roads around the airport in Kabul

(Reuters) - Afghans with valid documents will be able to travel in the future at any time, a senior Taliban official said on Friday in a televised address aimed at calming fears the movement planned harsh restrictions on freedom.

"The Afghan borders will be open and people will be able to travel at any time into and out of Afghanistan," Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, deputy head of the movement's political commission said.

The message came as thousands have struggled to get onto the last flights leaving Kabul airport before a deadline for the Western evacuation operation ends next week.

Calling on Afghans to unite to rebuild their country, Stanikzai said that trained and educated people should come back to work.

"The ground is prepared for the doctors, engineers and teachers that Afghanistan needs and for people from every profession, whether civilian or military. All are invited to start their work," he said.

Coming after a separate statement calling on female health staff to return to work, the message underlined efforts by the Taliban to reassure Afghans and the international community that they do not plan a return to their previous harsh rule.

The desperate scenes outside Kabul airport, where a suicide bomber killed at least 92 people on Thursday, have provided a dramatic image of the fears that many well-educated Afghans feel at the prospect of life under Taliban rule.

With the afghani currency falling sharply, many banks still shut and food prices rising quickly, daily life has become much more difficult for many Afghans since the dramatic collapse of the Western-backed government this month.

Stanikzai reiterated that the Taliban welcomed help from countries that wanted to play a positive role in Afghanistan though he said they would not accept interference in its internal affairs.

(Reporting by James Mackenzie; Editing by Chris Reese and Hugh Lawson)

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