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International Pressure Mounts: Calls for Taliban to Include Women in Public Life

Photo : AFP

The United Nations (UN)-facilitated talks in Doha, Qatar, witnessed a pivotal moment as global pressure mounted on Afghanistan's Taliban leaders to include women in public life. At the same time, the Taliban sought international recognition as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan.

The issue of women's rights under Taliban rule, where access to education, employment, and public spaces has been severely restricted, remains a critical barrier to global engagement. Despite 16 countries maintaining diplomatic missions in Afghanistan, none have formally recognized the Taliban as the country's legitimate government.

These talks, part of the ongoing 'Doha Process' initiated last year, marked the third round and the first to include the Taliban directly. Initially excluded from the first round and refusing to participate in the second due to the involvement of Afghan civil society, the Taliban engaged in discussions facilitated by Rosemary DiCarlo, the UN Undersecretary General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, who described the talks as "constructive" and productive.

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DiCarlo emphasized the importance of addressing women's issues for Afghanistan to reintegrate into the global community and achieve economic and social development. The Taliban's policies, which include banning girls and women from education beyond a certain age, limiting employment opportunities, and imposing strict dress codes and movement restrictions, were central to international concerns raised during the talks.

While women's rights were not on the formal agenda, participating countries and organizations consistently highlighted the need for an inclusive government, economic development through the private sector, and support for anti-narcotics efforts in Afghanistan.

DiCarlo expressed regret over the exclusion of Afghan civil society from direct participation, a condition imposed by the Taliban for their involvement in the talks. She underscored the UN's role in supporting dialogue while acknowledging that formal recognition of the Taliban's regime rests with individual countries rather than the UN itself.

Separately, the US Department of State emphasized that sustainable economic growth in Afghanistan hinges on respecting the rights of its entire population, particularly women. Thomas West and Special Envoy Rina Amiri stressed the importance of upholding human rights as fundamental to Afghanistan's future stability and prosperity.

July 2, 2024 6:31 p.m. 435

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