Taliban remains non-committal on girls’ education

The Taliban appears to be non-committal on the issue of allowing girls to access higher secondary level education in Afghanistan as the group’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said they can't be expected to implement social reforms in such a short time

Oct 12, 2021
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Taliban remains non-committal on girls’ education

The Taliban appears to be non-committal on the issue of allowing girls to access higher secondary level education in Afghanistan as the group’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said they can't be expected to implement social reforms in such a short time. 

He, however, hoped for good relations with all countries. 

"The international community needs to start cooperating with us," Muttaqi was quoted as saying by Reuters on Monday at an event organized by the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. 

"With this, we will be able to stop insecurity and at the same time with this, we will be able to engage positively with the world," he added. 

Muttaqi is heading a delegation of senior Taliban leaders in Doha where they have been holding discussions with western envoys and other international partners. US officials also engaged with the Taliban last week and discussed a wide range of issues, including the formation of an inclusive government, rights issues, and the security situation. 

Last month the group allowed boys above grade six to return to schools while older Afghan girls remain out of classrooms. The international community has been pressing the Taliban on the issue. 

Muttaqi said the Islamic Emirate-- the name  the Taliban refers to their government--was “moving carefully but had only been in power for a few weeks.” 

The group, he said, cannot be expected to complete the reforms which the international community had not been able to fulfill in 20 years. He, however, didn’t mention the girls’ education issue. 

"They had a lot of financial resources and they had a strong international backing and support but at the same time you are asking us to do all the reforms in two months?" he said.

Significantly, just before the talks with the US delegation, the Taliban officials in Kunduz, a northern Afghan province, allowed girls to attend higher classes. However, the same order has not been issued from other provinces.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the Taliban had broken promises on guaranteeing rights for women and girls and there was no way the economy could be fixed if women were barred from work. 

As the pressure grows on the Taliban amid a rapidly collapsing economy, there have been calls from several quarters to decouple aid from political objectives. 

Muttaqi reiterated the demand to lift a blockade on more than $9 billion of Afghan central bank reserves held outside the country but said the government had revenues of its own from taxes, customs tariffs, and agriculture if the funds remain frozen.

(SAM)