It looks like a last-ditch trip to influence the ultra-rigorous and repressive policy of the Taliban regime. The highest United Nations delegation ever sent to Afghanistan since the return to power of the Afghan Islamists on August 15, 2021, began a visit of several days on Tuesday, January 17, punctuated by meetings with the caciques of the Taliban power in Kabul. Members of this UN mission could also travel to Kandahar, in the south, in the hope of meeting the supreme leader of the Taliban movement, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada.
Arriving in Kabul a day late because of the cold and snow that are paralyzing part of the country, UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed, a former Nigerian minister and Muslim, leads a delegation that wishes to relay the indignation of the international community in the face of the government’s recent announcements against the rights of women and girls. She is accompanied by Sima Bahous, Executive Director of UN Women, the United Nations agency for the promotion of gender equality and women’s rights, and the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Khaled Khiari.
Women and girls excluded from the public space
Before landing in Kabul, these senior UN officials made stops in Europe, the Middle East and Asia to ensure the support of pillars of the international community before meeting the Taliban leaders. They exchanged with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Islamic Development Bank, groups of Afghan women in Ankara and Islamabad, as well as with a group of ambassadors and special envoys to Afghanistan based in Doha. At the end of these consultations, the principle of an international conference on women and girls in the Muslim world was adopted and planned for the month of March.
This diplomatic offensive comes after a series of announcements by the Taliban regime aimed at excluding women and girls from public spaces, including schools, parks and sports halls. On December 24, 2022, national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were, in turn, targeted by a decree prohibiting them from employing women. Suddenly, an essential force for humanitarian aid disappeared at the very moment when the Afghan populations had to face hunger and a serious economic crisis. The Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, had denounced, in mid-January, in this policy, the creation of a “gender-based apartheid”.
You have 53.03% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.