Japan urges Taliban to lift ban on women working for UN

Ambassador of Japan to Kabul, Takashi Okada met with the Taliban Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi on Wednesday to discuss the current situation of Afghanistan and its external relations.

During the meeting, according to the embassy of Japan in Kabul, Okada expressed its deep concern over the Taliban’s recent order banning women from working for UN offices and he also demanded the group lift the ban on girls’ education.

“Ambassador Okada met with Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi and discussed situation in Afghanistan and its external relations. Ambassador Okada expressed deep concern on the recent instruction banning Afghan women from working for the UN and urged DFA to reverse the decision.” The Embassy of Japan in Afghanistan tweeted.

“Among other topics they discussed, he also pressed for the resumption of girls’ education,” the embassy added.

The Taliban’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that the head of the ministry discussed bilateral relations and the political situation with the ambassador of Japan. Without mentioning the ban on women’s work at the UN, the spokesman of the group’s Foreign Ministry, Abdul Qahar Balkhi, quoted the Japanese ambassador in a tweet conveying that “despite having different opinions, his country is in favor of interaction with the Afghan authorities.”

The recent decision by the Taliban to ban UN female employees has sparked controversy, with the UN refusing to implement it and calling it against the organization’s charter. UNAMA further said that the Taliban was forcing the UN to make an “appalling choice” between staying and leaving.

Despite the UN’s emphasis on the ban’s cancellation, the Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, called it an internal value-based issue of Afghanistan that all sides should respect.