KABUL: A top United Nations official said on Wednesday that it will be extremely challenging for the international community to recognize the Taliban unless they lift bans on women’s rights, Roza Otunbayeva, the UN envoy for Afghanistan, addressed the Security Council, highlighting the complexities faced by the UN due to restrictions against women working for the organization.
Last April, the Taliban prohibited Afghan women from working with NGOs, creating significant obstacles for themselves with these decrees and restrictions, particularly affecting women and girls. Otunbayeva stated that the international community has conveyed to the Taliban that their government’s recognition is highly unlikely as long as these decrees remain in place.
The de facto authorities have not provided any explanations or assurances regarding the ban’s continuation or potential lifting. Otunbayeva emphasized that the UN will not replace female national staff with males, as some authorities have suggested. She demanded that the Taliban rescind these bans to ensure the UN can continue providing full support to the people of Afghanistan.
Describing the Taliban regime as insular and autocratic, Otunbayeva pointed out that the de facto government is entirely male-dominated and largely drawn from the Taliban’s Pashtun and rural political base. She also mentioned that the UN Special Coordinator for Afghanistan, Feridun Sinirlioglu, is currently present in Afghanistan.
Since the Taliban’s return to power on August 15, 2021, accompanied by a disruption of international financial assistance, Afghanistan has been facing economic, humanitarian, and human rights crises. Despite their commitments to protect human and women’s rights, the Taliban has consistently violated human rights, particularly targeting women and girls. Women have been deprived of their rights, including access to education, and have been marginalized in public life. Additionally, thousands of women have lost their jobs or been forced to resign from government institutions and the private sector.