Speaking to Al Jazeera following her trip to Afghanistan, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, said that she went to Afghanistan to amplify the voices of Afghan women to the Taliban and that she was ” very focused on getting those messages across.” Despite being told by some of the group’s leaders that it was “haram” for her to be in a room with her.
Veteran US diplomat, Zalmay Khalilzad, has called on the Taliban to listen to the Iranian cleric, Abdolhamid Ismaeelzahi, who, in a Friday sermon, preached that men and women had equal rights to education. A critic of the Iranian government, Abdolhamid Ismaeelzahi is a Baluch Sunni cleric, who in August 2021, congratulated the Taliban’s return to power as a victory achieved with the “help of God.”
The UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, ended her four-day trip to Afghanistan without gaining concessions from the Taliban on lifting restrictions on women girls’ rights. Accompanied by the head of UN Women, Sima Bahous, the UN delegation met with senior Taliban officials in Kabul and Kandahar.
The UN has apologised for its security personnel in Kabul posing for photographs under a Taliban flag. Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesperson for the UN General-Secretary, António Guterres, said the photos had been “a mistake.”
With over 28 million Afghans depending on aid to survive, and the Taliban leaders not showing any signs of relenting on their punitive decrees, international aid agencies are dismayed at the UN World Food Programme’s (WFP) apparent consideration of complying with the ban and switching into a men-only delivery operation, reports Foreign Policy magazine’s Lynne O’Donnell.
Speaking to the BBC’s Lyse Doucet from Afghanistan’s western city of Herat, the Executive Director of UN Women, Sima Bahous, said that the Taliban had inflicted “the gravest women’s rights crisis in the world” on Afghan women.
At least 70 people and 70,000 livestock have frozen to death across Afghanistan over the past week, as the country battles through, in some places, double-digit sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Care International have partially resumed their operations in Afghanistan. The two agencies had suspended aid deliveries following the Taliban’s ban on women working as aid workers. The resumptions are limited to the health sector.
Former British diplomat, Laurie Bristow, the British ambassador to Kabul at the time of the Taliban’s return to power, has warned of terrorist threats from Afghanistan against the West. Speaking to LBC, a British radio station, Mr Bristow said that before the group’s return, he had seen “no evidence of a reformed Taliban, the so-called Taliban 2.0.