The Taliban promises a new age of peace in Afghanistan, including amnesty for those who fought against them for two decades. However, Afghans who remember the regime’s brutal rule fear a return to violence and retribution.

The Associated Press reported the militant group tried to assure Afghans, who worked for the government or its security services, they will not be targeted for retaliation. The group also claimed “life, property, and honor” will be respected.

However, those who remember the previous Taliban regime, and lived in areas controlled by Islamic militants, have a very different experience. Those Afghans watched in horror as the insurgents seized control of most of the country as international forces withdrew.

Reports of widespread panic are becoming more frequent across the country, as citizens flee Taliban fighters. Very few women roam the streets, and even female doctors have to stay at home due to safety concerns.

“I cannot face Taliban fighters,” a 25-year-old university graduate from Herat said according to the newswire agency. “I do not have a good feeling about them, no one can change the Taliban’s stance against women and girls–they still want women to stay at home.”

The remarks came as a growing number of women express concern about losing freedoms they enjoyed under the previous U.S.-backed Afghanistan government.

“I do not think I would be ready to wear a burqa,” the local nongovernment organization employee said, referring to the blue robe she used to wear under Taliban rule. “I cannot accept it, I will fight for my rights whatever happens.”

In accordance with a strict interpretation of Islamic law, Taliban fighters have stoned accused adulterers and carried out public executions. The group previously prohibited women from working outside the home or attending school.

“The gap between official Taliban statements on rights, and the restrictive positions adopted by Taliban officials on the ground, indicates that the Taliban are far from an internal consensus on their own policies,” New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a 2020 report.

The Taliban regularly threatens and imprisons journalists, especially women and critics of the group. The group and democratically elected government has blamed each other for multiple journalist deaths. BL understands the group has claimed responsibility for most of the reporter killings.

According to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, Taliban fighters went door-to-door looking for those who worked with the government in the Malistan district of southern Ghazni province. At least 27 civilians were killed, 10 wounded, and several homes looted.

Mike Pompeo blames the Biden administration for the rapid Taliban advance. The former secretary of state believes the Democratic Party carried out “poor planning in the withdrawal of U.S. troops.”

Pompeo revealed his biggest concern is a new Taliban regime might turn Afghanistan back into a “hotbed” for terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and Islamic State.

Insurgents also seized the nearby town of Lashkar Gah, and control about a third of Afghanistan’s provincial capitals.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) flaunts its intervention in Afghanistan as a so-called mission to bring peace and reconciliation. The CCP recently extended its controversial “Belt and Road” economic corridor across the region, according to the Daily Mail.