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Women rights activists criticise Rina Amiri over Taliban engagement

Afghanistan’s Women Protester Movements Coalition, a group of women’s rights activists, has criticised the US Special Envoy for Afghan women, girls, and human rights, Rina Amiri, for what they call is using the rights of women as a tool to advance US interests.

In a statement in Persian on Tuesday, the women’s rights activists stated that Amiri has the right to work for the interests of the United States, but she does not have the right to use the rights of Afghan women as a means to achieve those interests.

Rina Amiri’s statements on direct engagement with the Taliban have been met with criticism from women’s rights activists inside and outside Afghanistan.

In a tweet on Monday following the meeting between US special envoys and Taliban representatives in Doha, Amiri said: “Having been urged extensively by Afghans and human rights defenders on the need to directly engage the Taliban on human rights, particularly the extreme restrictions on women and girls.”

Afghanistan’s Women Protester Movements Coalition called on US special envoy Rina Amiri to apologize for her remarks and not to consider the voices of a few Taliban lobbyists as representing the views of women and human rights activists in Afghanistan.

The coalition emphasized that they have been advocating for their rights without seeking direct engagement with the Taliban. They believe that the international community’s direct engagement with the Taliban has not yielded positive results and has only legitimized a repressive regime in the country.

A US delegation, led by Special Envoy for Afghanistan Thomas West, and Special Envoy for Afghan women, girls, and human rights Rina Amiri, conducted a two-day meeting with senior Taliban representatives and technocratic professionals in Doha on July 30 and 31, as stated by the US State Department on Monday.

During the meeting, according to the US State Department, the US officials urged the Taliban to reverse policies responsible for the deteriorating human rights situation in Afghanistan, with a particular emphasis on the rights of women, girls, and vulnerable communities.