The UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed led a delegation to Afghanistan this week and met Taliban rulers to convey a clear message — restore women’s rights.
The two top-ranking female officials from the United Nations made some progress in engaging with the Taliban to have them reverse their crackdown on women’s rights, a UN spokesman said.
What do we know about the trip?
The UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and the Executive Director of UN Women Sima Bahous spent four days in Afghanistan this week and their trip concluded on Friday.
Together with Khaled Khiari, the assistant secretary-general for UN political, peacebuilding and peace operations, the UN team met with the Taliban in capital city Kabul and in the southern city of Kandahar.
Amina Mohammed said in a statement her message to the defacto rulers of Afghanistan was clear — new restrictions on women’s education and jobs “confines them in their own homes, violating their rights and depriving the communities of their services.”
During her visit, Mohammed met with Deputy Governor Maulvi Hayatullah Mubarak in Kandahar, which is the Taliban’s birthplace.
The Kandahar Information Office said in a statement that the deputy governor told Mohammed that the Taliban wanted a strong relationship with the world and the removal of sanctions on its leaders.
The Taliban banned aid groups from employing women on December 24 and banned women from going to universities before that.
Those decrees are on top of the Taliban slamming shut middle and high school for girls, breaking with their promises of running the country more moderately as compared with their first stint in power between 1996 and 2001.
The UN officials this week also met with former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has remained in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover in 2021.
Some signs of progress, says UN
The UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq said the UN delegation that visited Afghanistan found some Taliban officials to have been “cooperative and they’ve received some signs of progress.”
Haq said the “key thing is to reconcile the (Taliban) officials that they’ve met who’ve been more helpful with those who have not.”
Haq specifically said there were many “different points of authority” among the Taliban and the UN team was trying to get them to “work together to advance the goals that we want, which include most crucially, bringing women and girls back to the full enjoyment of their rights.”
Taliban shunned by international community
The UN and the international community broadly does not recognize the Taliban as legitimate rulers of the country and the UN General Assembly last year adopted a resolution accusing the Taliban of plunging the country into dire economic conditions.
The text was drafted by Germany, which hoped all 193 members of the General Assembly would adopt the resolution by consensus.
Ten countries, including China, Russia and Pakistan, abstained, while 67 countries didn’t vote. General Assembly resolutions reflect world opinion, and aren’t legally binding like Security Council resolutions.