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Famous Afghan rapper urges world leaders at UN meet not to recognise Taliban leadership

Alizadeh and her family had fled Afghanistan when it was last ruled by the Taliban from 1996-2001 (Image courtesy: Twitter/@WAWHumanRights)

Even as the Taliban make a desperate push to find a place for their leader Sohail Shaheen as Afghanistan’s envoy in the UN, famous Afghan rapper and women’s activist Sonita Alizadeh, has hit back by warning the world leaders not to be fooled by the Taliban leadership.  

Addressing a virtual event on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly, she urged world leaders on Tuesday not to recognise the Taliban and stand up for the rights of women and girls which are now under threat.

"What will remain of our people? And what will remain of the 20 years of achievements? Do not be fooled by the masks the Taliban show on the news," Reuters cited Alizadeh as saying.

"We have no time," she lamented.

She urged the international community to ensure that the rights of women and children are guaranteed, and internet access is available to the Afghan people. More Afghans should be included in decision making and girls should be allowed to go to school, she added.

"It looks like we all know what must be done. But the question is that, who will take action today?" Alizadeh said.

Alizadeh and her family had fled Afghanistan when it was last ruled by the Taliban from 1996-2001. Girls could not go to school and women were not allowed to work and had to wear a burqa. They also could not leave home without a male relative escorting them.

"There is real and palpable fear among Afghan women of a return to the Taliban's brutal and systemic repression of women and girls during the 90s," said UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, who also spoke at the event.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had said last month the Taliban's desire for international recognition is the only global leverage to press for inclusive government and respect for rights, particularly for women, in Afghanistan.

With international aid being suddenly cut off after they returned to power in a military takeover of Kabul, the Taliban are desperate for foreign funds. The Afghanistan economy is tottering on the brink of collapse after being battered by a severe drought and grave humanitarian crisis looms in the country.

The Taliban have been claiming at press conferences that they have changed since the last 20 years when they were in power. However, in reality their actions do not live up to their words.

Women are not being allowed to work and even the ministry for women has been wound up and replaced by a ministry for preventing vice and promoting virtue which will give the moral police unbridled power to interfere in the lives of women.

Besides, last week they had announced that schools would open for boys but there was no mention of girls.

Also read: Video of Taliban tearing Pakistani flag from truck carrying aid for Afghanistan goes viral