KABUL (Reuters) – Afghans are calling for more international support following increasingly restrictive decrees issued by the Taliban administration, as the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan began a trip on Monday to sharpen an international response to support the country.
The Taliban have introduced a series of restrictions on Afghan women since taking over the country in 2021, including barring women from university and secondary schools. In December, authorities ordered all NGOs to ban female employees, although those in good health were allowed to return to work earlier this month.
The moves have been widely condemned, with senior UN officials and leaders of major international organizations visiting Afghanistan this month to try to reverse the Taliban’s crackdown on women and girls.
Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West will travel to Pakistan, Germany and Switzerland for a mission of “consultation with partners, Afghans and humanitarian aid organizations”, the US State Department said. in a statement, in one of the last efforts to deal with the situation. in the South Asian country.
“SRA West will work with its counterparts to refine a unified regional and international response that reflects a collective commitment to the rights of Afghan women and girls and access to lifesaving assistance,” the statement added.
Afghans hope West’s trip could benefit Afghanistan, with some urging the international community to increase pressure on the Taliban.
“There is no doubt that this mission will be useful in the case of Afghanistan. I believe that if this mission is implemented in a way that finds a solution to the misery of the Afghan people, it will most definitely work,” Mohibullah Sharif, an Afghan political expert based in Kabul, told Arab News.
“However, if as before, the mission is only aimed at securing the interests of regional and international actors, it will bring no good to the Afghans and will worsen the situation.”
Life in Afghanistan has become increasingly difficult for women, said Shamsia Hassanzadah, a member of the Afghan Women’s Network and former director of the Star Education Center in Kabul, who has been affected by the ban on women working for the song.
“Women in NGOs should be allowed to work because a woman’s work is very important for their family’s economy,” Hassanzadah told Arab News, adding that she is the breadwinner of her family.
“We want the international community to exert additional pressure on the current government of Afghanistan and we believe that such steps and measures will help reduce the restrictions imposed by the Taliban on Afghan women,” he said. she adds.
“It will prevent or even prevent the Taliban from issuing new decrees against education and employment of women in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan needs more support from the UN and the global community, according to women’s rights activist Farimah Nikkhwah, who has also been affected by the recent ban.
“In the current situation, Afghanistan needs the special attention of the UN and the international community to prevent the negative and illogical actions of the Taliban,” Nikkhwah told Arab News.
UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths said last week after a visit to Kabul that Taliban ministers were working on new guidelines to allow women more freedom in humanitarian work.
“The needs of Afghanistan, to us, are of the utmost importance because of its people, because of their obvious and deserved priority for us in our humanitarian world. The need for Afghanistan to be properly served by humanitarian operations is also a global priority,” Griffiths told AFP in an interview.
As for the education of Afghan girls, calls are also coming from within the country, said Dr. Hatef Mokhtar, director of the International Center for Strategic Studies in Afghanistan.
“Afghans want Afghanistan to come out of isolation,” Mokhtar told Arab News.
“The opening of schools for Afghan girls is not the voice of the world, but it is the voice of Afghan women themselves. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan should take this issue seriously and open schools for girls as soon as possible.