An Afghan journalist showed her outrage Monday during a Pentagon press briefing, speaking of the fears of the Afghan people, especially women, now that the Taliban has marched on the capital. "I'm very upset today because Afghan woman didn't expect that overnight all the Taliban came," Nazira Karimi told Pentagon press secretary John Kirby, per the Hill. "They took off my flag. This is my flag," she said, pointing to the Afghan flag on her face mask. "And they put their flag." Karimi said women were "especially" upset. "Woman has a lot of achievement in Afghanistan. I had a lot of achievement. I left from the Taliban like 20 years ago. Now we go back to the first step again," she said, recalling a time, prior to 2001, when the Taliban forced females to wear burqas, barred them from school, and carried out public executions and stonings, per the Washington Post.
Karimi demanded to know the location of President Ashraf Ghani, who fled the country on Sunday. "People expected that he [would leave] with the people, and immediately he run away," she said. "We don't know where is he, and we don't have a president." Kirby said "we too have invested greatly in Afghanistan and in the progress that women and girls have made ... and we do feel the pain that you're feeling," though "probably not to the same extent." On Tuesday, the Taliban said women would retain the right to education and should join the militants' government, dubbed the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. "The Islamic Emirate doesn't want women to be victims," a member of the Taliban's cultural commission said, per France 24. "They should be in government structure according to Shariah law." The Taliban also declared amnesty for Afghan government officials. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)