Pakistan UN ambassador apologizes

Pakistan UN ambassador: Taliban restrictions on women part of “Pashtun culture”

Speaking at a meeting in New York on Wednesday, the Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN, Munir Akram, said that the Taliban’s restrictions on women flowed not from religion, but from Pashtun culture. 

Munir Akram said, “From our perspective, the restrictions that have been put by the Afghan interim government, flow not so much from a religious perspective as from a peculiar cultural perspective of the Pashtun culture, which requires women to be kept at home. And this is a peculiar, distinctive cultural reality of Afghanistan which has not changed for hundreds of years.”

The Pakistani diplomat’s remarks have been criticised and provoked strong reactions from some on social media. 

The former Canadian diplomat and politician, and a long-time critic of Pakistan’s policies on Afghanistan, Chris Alexander, condemned Munir Akram as a “frantically cynical apologist for war criminals.”

Shahmahmood Miakhel, an Afghan politician and former deputy defence minister, said that Munir Akram was “playing ethnic card or creating false narrative.”