At a speaking engagement in Doha, the acting foreign minister of the Taliban, Amir Khan Muttaqi, avoided questions about education for women and girls and reiterated the group needs more time on girls’ education—despite international outcry after last month’s decision that schools above sixth grade would only reopen for boys.
Early this week, the Taliban announced additional members of their Cabinet, and once again, all of them are part of the old guard of the Taliban, despite promises of an inclusive government during peace talks. The 38 new members of the interim government of the Taliban were appointed to military and civilian positions. The leadership team still doesn’t include a single woman.
On Sep. 17, the Taliban issued a statement calling only for boys to return to secondary schools. The statement did not include girls. When the schools reopened the next day, millions of girls across the country did not return to their classes, losing access to their basic rights to education.
At grave risks to their lives, Afghan women have held protests for days to stand against the new all-male Taliban government. The Taliban are responding violently.
In a sign-on letter by prominent leaders and individuals worldwide, friends and supporters of Afghanistan urge NATO and the European Union to continue their support of Afghanistan.
The endorsors remind NATO and the European Union that the world has a “responsibility” to Afghanistan and that it “must come together in their support to the Afghan National Security Forces who are fighting to protect Afghan lives from terrorists as well as work towards our shared security interests.”
On June 25, during a state visit by the president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, President Biden pledged to continue to support Afghanistan, assuring the Afghan delegation the United States will “maintain their military, as well as economic and political support.”
Signs of the Taliban reducing violence and committing to genuine and serious peace talks are far from sight, suggests a new report by the U.N. In the report, U.N. experts say that “unprecedented” level of violence from 2020 has carried onto 2021 and is likely to increase more this year. The “continues to strengthen its military position as leverage.”
In an interview with CNN on Sunday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared critical of President Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan. “This is what we call a wicked problem. There are consequences both foreseen and unintended of staying and of leaving,” she told CNN.
In a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing this week, senators from across the political spectrum expressed concerns about the security situation in Afghanistan post-U.S. and NATO withdrawal this year. Committee members repeatedly expressed concerns on U.S. counter-terrorism operations, as well the future of human rights and women’s rights in Afghanistan.
Habiba Sarabi, Fatima Gailani, Sharifa Zurmati Wardak and Fawzia Koofi are the only women negotiators representing the Afghan state in negotiating peace with the Taliban. They urged a premature U.S. exit would “result in state collapse and collapse of institutions.”