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As pressure mounted on the Biden administration to do more to evacuate thousands of Afghan allies fearing for their lives, the Taliban on Tuesday sought to present themselves to the world as responsible stewards of Afghanistan.

But with both the Biden administration and the Taliban promising to offer protection, for millions of Afghans the future promised only more uncertainty. While the U.S. military on Tuesday restored order within Kabul’s international airport, it was unclear whether Afghans could make it there.

Despite assurances of safe passage, the Taliban are known to operate with brutality.

The group’s leaders took to Twitter, appeared on international cable networks and held a news conference – all to provide assurances that they would not engage in systemic retribution and to offer vague reassurances to women.

“Give us time,” a spokesman said at the news conference in Kabul.

On Tuesday, the chairman of the Taliban’s Military Commission, Mullah Yaqoub, reiterated orders that fighters in Kabul should not enter people’s homes or seize property.

But he coupled that with a warning, saying that the Taliban would be collecting weapons and government property and that looting state property was a betrayal of the country.

There were other signals that the Taliban are now seeking to move from being insurgents to the new legal authority in the nation.

Mullah Baradar, the chief of the Taliban’s political office, arrived in the southern city of Kandahar on Tuesday.

A Taliban delegation also was in Kabul on Tuesday for discussions with political leaders to negotiate the formation of an interim government, according to Maulvi Qalamuddin, a former Taliban minister.

More senior Taliban leaders are scheduled to arrive in Kabul on Wednesday and will most likely announce a new government, he said.

Still, there were also ominous signs that the Taliban’s promises did not match the situation on the ground.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said Monday that his organization was “receiving chilling reports of severe restrictions on human rights” throughout the country. “I am particularly concerned by accounts of mounting human rights violations against the women and girls of Afghanistan,” he said at an emergency meeting of the Security Council.

In some areas of Afghanistan, women have been told not to leave home without being accompanied by a male relative, and girls’ schools have been closed.

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