UN Deputy Chief

UN Deputy Chief: Taliban’s definition of protecting women is oppression

The UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed has said that she “used everything that I know, that I have in my toolbox” to convince the Taliban to reverse course on restricting women and girls’ rights. However, the group, she said, argued that they were protecting women, but “their definition of protection would be, I would say, ours of oppression.”

Amina Mohammed, who headed a delegation of senior UN officials, including the Executive Director or UN Women Sima Bahous, to Afghanistan and met with Taliban leaders in Kabul and Kandahar, said that “A lot of what we have to deal with is how we travel the Taliban from the 13th century to the 21st. And that’s, that’s a journey. So it is not just, overnight.” Adding that “This is going to be tough to get them back into the space we need them, and women’s and girls’ rights protected and upheld.”

Amina Mohammed is set to brief the UN Security Council in New York today on her trip to Afghanistan in a meeting requested by the UAE, Japan and France, which will be held behind closed doors.

UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief, Martin Griffiths, has been meeting the Taliban leaders in Kabul in recent days.

Martin Griffiths told the BBC yesterday that 6 million Afghans were on the verge of famine. And that he was in Kabul to implore the Taliban leaders to “can you please rescind this ban. If you don’t, let us for God’s sake, find ways to find exemptions and exceptions to allow us to operate.”

Speaking to AFP, Griffiths again warned that “We don’t have time. The winter is with us, people are dying, famine is looming. We need decisions now, which is why I think these practical exceptions that we have been talking about are so important.”

The Taliban leaders have thus far resisted calls to reverse their ban on women working as aid workers.