Taliban say they don't want monopoly on power in Afghanistan, pledge rights for women

Taliban representatives say they don't insist on monopolizing power in a post-conflict Afghanistan.

They also say women will enjoy freedoms the Taliban themselves once brutally repressed.

The less strident substance and tone from the Islamist militant group comes in speeches delivered at a conference last week in France. Kabul government officials also took part.

The group said a future constitution would protect civil and political rights of all Afghans, stressing that the Taliban was "not looking to monopolize power," and women would be allowed schooling and work.

The speech, received from the Taliban spokesman Sunday, reiterated the group's consistent policy lines — that the current Kabul government is illegitimate and that all foreign troops must be pulled out of the country.