Speed Reads

afghanistan

Kabul's holdover mayor says he finds Taliban 'more tolerant'

Kabul Mayor Daoud Sultanzoy is the "most prominent official" from the Afghan government to remain in his post after the Taliban swept the country last month, according to The Wall Street Journal. He said he decided to do so — even though he doubts he'll remain there "for too long" — because he is "responsible to the people of Kabul" and wouldn't back out of the commitment "frivously" just because he's not a fan of the new regime.

On that note, Sultanzoy insists he's "not involved" in any of the Taliban's politics and doesn't plan on helping them. He did say, however, that he finds them "more tolerant" than their last turn in power in the 1990s (Sultanzoy was living in the United States at that point, where he previously held citizenship and worked as a commercial airline pilot, the Journal reports). "I am not saying I've met everybody, I am sure there are some other elements," Sultanzoy said of the Taliban. "But the ones I have met are very polite, very understanding."

Some of that, he suggested, is because Kabul has changed so much since the last time the group was in power. In 1996, the capital had been the site of devastating civil war battles, but this time around, the city, which had grown vibrant, has larged evaded sustained urban combat.

Still, the softer side of the Taliban that Sultanzoy has seen isn't a shocker. Frontfacing members of the group have sent that message frequently, but there are factions within the ranks, some of them much more hardline. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.