Media reports say the Taliban declared a "general amnesty" for all government officials on August 17 and urged them to return to work.  They also urged women to join the government.  

The promises of amnesty from Enamullah Samangani, a member of the Taliban’s cultural commission, were the first comments on how the Taliban might govern on a national level.  However, his remarks remained vague, however, as the Taliban are still negotiating with political leaders of the country’s fallen government and no formal handover deal has been announced, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Women would also be allowed to join the government in accordance with sharia law, he said.

“The Islamic Emirate doesn't want women to be victims,” Samangani said, using the militants' term for Afghanistan. “They should be in the government structure according to Shariah law.”

“The structure of government is not fully clear, but based on experience, there should be a fully Islamic leadership and all sides should join,” he added.

Suhail Shaheen, one of the Taliban's official spokesmen, has also tried to calm fears that women would be relegated to diminished status in the new Afghanistan.  “Their right to education is also protected,” he said late Monday, according to France 24.

Following a blitz across Afghanistan that saw many cities fall to the insurgents without a fight, the Taliban have sought to portray themselves as more moderate than when they imposed a brutal rule in the late 1990s.  But many Afghans remain skeptical.

AP says Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the United Nations’ high commissioner for human rights, noted both the Taliban’s vows and the fear of those now under their rule.

“Such promises will need to be honored, and for the time being — again understandably, given past history — these declarations have been greeted with some skepticism,” he said in a statement.  “There have been many hard-won advances in human rights over the past two decades. The rights of all Afghans must be defended.”