Photo: Taliban's MFA

Japanese envoy says repeatedly raised concerns about women’s rights with Taliban officials

Ambassador of Japan to Kabul, Okada Takashi, has said that he has repeatedly raised concerns about women’s rights in Afghanistan with Taliban officials.

In an interview with Japanese NHK Online on Sunday, Takashi said that two years after the Taliban returned to power, most people are still struggling to survive. He said that the country is facing a shortage of food and other basic necessities and that the economy is in the doldrums.

Takashi also expressed concern about the lack of opportunities for women and girls in Afghanistan. He said that girls are denied secondary education in many parts of the country and that women are being increasingly deprived of opportunities to work and socialize.

“I have repeatedly told Taliban leaders that women’s support is essential to stabilize the country,” Takashi said. “I hope that change could occur in the future as there seem to be members of the Taliban who support introducing a more relaxed policy on women,” he added.

Takashi also emphasized the continuation of Japan’s assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

Soon after seizing power, the Taliban promised to respect women’s rights. However, the group has significantly cracked down on women and girls in the two years of its rule, imposing curbs on women’s movements and denying them education, employment, social mobility, and other freedoms.

Despite condemnations and pleas from women inside and outside of Afghanistan and human rights organizations, the Taliban has refused to reverse the bans. Human rights reports have warned that the draconian Taliban rules and systematic gender discrimination against women and girls could account for crimes against humanity.