Taliban says women should stay at home for their own safety

Watch: Taliban wants all foreign evacuations to be completed by Tuesday

The Taliban has warned that women in Afghanistan should stay at home for their own safety.

It comes as the group also announced it would try to stop Afghans travelling to the airport or attempt to leave the country.

A meeting of G7 leaders on Tuesday afternoon ended with the US president Joe Biden refusing to seek an extension the 31 August deadline to evacuate more of those trying to flee the country.

US troops currently control Kabul airport as tens of thousands of people are flown out of the country.

Speaking in a press conference in Kabul on Tuesday, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said women would not be permanently prevented from going back to work.

However, he added that they should currently stay at home "for their benefit to prevent any ill-treatment".

He said: "This is a temporary situation in relation to women," adding that security has "not been trained properly" to keep them safe.

Read: Why is there a 31 August deadline to evacuate everyone from Afghanistan?

"Security is an issue that needs to be implemented first," he said.

"If people want to return back to their duties, their salaries will be paid at home."

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - AUGUST 23: People who want to flee the country continue to wait around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 23, 2021. (Photo by Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
People who want to flee Afghanistan wait outside Kabul's international airport on Monday. (Getty Images)

Mujahid also claimed that women have not been removed from their jobs and that their salaries will be paid.

The Taliban also urged Afghans at Kabul airport should "return to their homes and resume their calm everyday lives with our assurance", in a bid to demonstrate that it is bringing the country back under control.

Mujahid said the crowding at the airport was dangerous and "people could lose their lives".

The Taliban has keenly tried to present itself as trying to provide order and stability to the country. However, concerns remain over what will happen to Afghans who have now effectively been banned from leaving the country.

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said she had received credible reports of "summary executions" of civilians and Afghan security forces who had surrendered.

A fundamental red line will be the Taliban's treatment of women and girls," she told an emergency session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The US troops controlling Kabul airport are set to leave Afghanistan by 31 August, and American president Joe Biden has said repeatedly that he aims to stick to that schedule.

During the press conference, Mujahid urged foreign embassies not to close and called on the US not to "encourage" highly skilled people to leave Afghanistan.

The US should not be removing "our doctors, engineers, our educated elite", he said, according to a Sky News translation.

"We need those people in the country – we do not want them out of the country to work in their institutions."

No evacuations will be permitting after the 31 August deadline, Mujahid also said.

Watch: Afghanistan evacuation extension 'unlikely', says defence minister

"All people should be removed prior to that date. After that we do not allow them, it will not be allowed in our country, we will take a different stance."

In an emergency virtual meeting of G7 nations on Tuesday, Boris Johnson and other G7 leaders failed to persuade the US to keep troops in Afghanistan to continue evacuation efforts past the end of the month.

Instead, the Pentagon confirmed that Biden will stick to the 31 August cut-off date.

The Prime Minister was expected to press US President Joe Biden to keep his forces on the ground past August 31, as they are providing security at Kabul airport to allow people to flee the country.

Johnson said: “We will go right up until the last minute that we can but you’ve heard what the President of the United States has said, you’ve heard what the Taliban have said.”

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - AUGUST 23: People who want to flee the country continue to wait around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 23, 2021. (Photo by Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
People wait outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Getty Images)

He added: “We’re confident we can get thousands more out, but the situation at the airport is not getting any better.”

He said leaders had agreed the “number one condition” up to and after August 31 was that the Taliban must grant “safe passage for those who want to come out”.

Earlier, the UK's defence secretary Ben Wallace said about 8,600 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan in the past fortnight although he conceded: “We’re not going to get everybody out of the country.”

He said more than 2,000 people had been evacuated in the past 24 hours.

More than 10,000 entitled people, including those under the Afghan relocations and assistance policy (Arap) and British nationals, have come out of the country since April.

Watch: Johnson to press Biden to delay Afghanistan withdrawal