The Taliban administration in Kabul known variously as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan [self-declared] or Defacto authorities remained defiant over international and regional stakeholders’ request for observing universal human rights particularly towards women and the media. The Taliban claimed that the world must honor its culture and traditions which are based on interpretation of the Sharia by the top religious leadership led by Mullah Hibatullah, known as the Supreme Authority.
Numerous delegations from the United Nations, Organization for Islamic Cooperation, international and regional stakeholders visited Afghanistan in the month of January seeking the Taliban to open education for women and permit them to work in the NGO sector. A number of stakeholders visited Afghanistan during the month to appeal to the Taliban to mainstream with international human rights amongst other issues. The United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous visited Kabul and met with the Taliban authorities to discuss Afghan women’s rights and other issues.
Minister Muutaqi expressed his gratitude and hoped that the UN delegation would portray Afghanistan’s true image to the international community. “Women are engaged in educational and health sectors in significant numbers whereas those who used to work in government offices are paid salaries at home. The number of female inmates has reduced considerably, and broad facilities have been provided in the business sector,” Muttaqi said. Muttaqi also reiterated that not recognizing the Afghan government, travel bans on the Islamic Emirate authorities and restrictions on the banking system have led to numerous problems. While the senior Taliban officials met the delegation and appeared ready to engage in a discussion on women’s rights, but there were no serious breakthroughs, or even major progress, on getting the country’s rulers to back down on their policies on women’s rights.
The Organizations of the Islamic Cooperation held an extraordinary meeting on Afghanistan in Jeddah aimed at “considering the situation in Afghanistan following the decisions taken by the de facto Afghan authorities to close down schools and universities to girls and women for an unspecified period and suspend women from working in all national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in violation of the purposes of Islamic law and the methodology of the Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad.” Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) continued the distribution of aid to at least 47,400 vulnerable families in Afghanistan.
The Taliban has blatantly ignored the appeals by organisations and high officials as Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary General for reversing the ban on education for women.
There has been only limited breakthrough in this direction as the Taliban continued to defy these requests. In the interim the Group has tightened conservative religious edicts and implementation such as public flogging for crime.
On January 28, Taliban’s Ministry of Higher Education issued a new decree banning female students from taking university entrance exams (Kankor) this year in all public and private universities in Afghanistan. The international benevolence towards the hardline extremist Taliban regime is based on the empathy for the Afghan people who have suffered for the past many decades and in case ignored now may fall into the trap of extreme penury, human suffering and loss of lives of the most vulnerable essentially the children.
The aid and assistance to the Taliban includes packages of hard cash flowing in the country sustaining the economy and providing for the peoples livelihood to some extent despite a very harsh winter. There are apparently no signs of weakening of the Taliban resolve to maintain its ideological extreme beliefs even though some amongst them have from time to time called for a change.
These latter voices are few and far between and are coming mainly from officials who are in Kabul the capital whereas the ideological edicts have been issued from Kandahar the clerical headquarters of the de facto authorities. Under the circumstances hoping for a change of approach in Afghanistan soon is unlikely.
Source: Security Risks Research