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Afghan womens’ rights under spotlight as UN Special Representative holds talks in Kabul

Afghan women have been holding regular protests after the rise of the Taliban (Photo: IANS)

Senior UN official Mette Knudsen met with Afghan women and female religious scholars in the country's capital Kabul to discuss women's rights and their conditions under the Taliban government.

Knudsen–the UN Secretary-Deputy General's Special Representative for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), met with multiple stakeholders including the Taliban to discuss not just women's rights but also humanitarian supplies.

The UNAMA meetings focused on Islamic law, including the importance of girls being allowed to attend school and women being able to work.

It is two months since the fall of the democratically-elected government of Ashraf Ghani after a fierce onslaught by Taliban militants in the wake of US and NATO forces leaving the country. Despite assurances, the Taliban functionaries have not included a single woman as a member of the cabinet.

After taking over power, the Taliban even abolished the Ministry of Women's Affairs and closed most of the educational institutions for girls and women. They reintroduced the Ministry of Vice and Virtue to ensure that people live according to the Sharia laws.

Afghan women have been holding protests and rallies demanding their right to go to school and work. They have organised unique protests against the rigid dictates by the Taliban. 

The UN initiative is important to galvanise public opinion over the rights of girls and women under the Taliban rule. Former President Hamid Karzai also appealed to the international community to provide humanitarian support to Afghanistan.

The UN meet coincided with a gathering of Islamic leaders from around the world. According to TOLO News, the participants who came from India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, and Croatia, called for the formation of an inclusive government. They also gave a call to forming a united front against ISIS in Islamic countries. 

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