KABUL – A coalition of 50 activists has issued a stern call to the British government, urging an investigation into the recent visit of a group of religious scholars to Afghanistan and meetings with the Taliban leaders. The activists are concerned that this delegation, with ties primarily to Pakistan and Arab countries, may be attempting to downplay the actions of the Taliban in the region.
The group, comprising human rights advocates, civil society representatives, university lecturers, and journalists, alleges that these scholars visited Kabul and may have attempted to “whitewash” the Taliban’s actions while overlooking the dire human rights situation in Afghanistan.
In an open letter, the activists expressed their concerns, stating, “On July 27, a contingent of religious scholars from the UK, primarily of Pakistani and Arab origin, traveled to Afghanistan with the support of Taliban authorities. They portrayed their mission as a truth-finding endeavor but appeared to be promoting the Taliban’s actions while downplaying their cruelty.”
Simultaneously, women’s rights activists have called for international solidarity with Afghan women and girls. Mariam Malrof Arwin, a prominent women’s rights advocate, emphasized the importance of countries like Britain and the international community taking a firm stance against such actions to uphold human rights, especially those of women and girls in Afghanistan.
The activists’ letter also underscores the need for British authorities to scrutinize such visits to Afghanistan. They argue that the human rights situation in the country has significantly deteriorated since the Taliban’s resurgence, with Afghan women and girls experiencing gender-based discrimination reminiscent of apartheid.
Inside Afghanistan, female university students, who have been denied their right to education by the Taliban, are expressing their frustration and hopelessness. Nargis, a student, lamented, “The hopes and dreams that Afghan women and girls had are being crushed; they are losing their motivation and falling into depression.”
This development comes in the wake of reports that a delegation of British religious scholars visited Kabul in July and engaged with various Taliban government bodies to assess the situation in Afghanistan. The delegation reportedly held meetings with key figures within the Taliban, including members of the foreign ministry, vice and virtue ministry, justice ministry, and higher education ministry.
The activists are now waiting for a response from the British government as they seek further clarity on the objectives of the scholars’ visit and potential consequences for the human rights situation in Afghanistan.