The supreme leader of the Taliban has released a message, claiming his government has taken the necessary steps for the betterment of women’s lives in Afghanistan.
In a statement marking this week’s Eid al-Adha holiday, Haibatullah Akhunzada – who rarely appears in public and rules by decree from the Taliban’s birthplace in Kandahar – on Sunday said steps had been taken to provide women with a “comfortable and prosperous life according to Islamic Sharia”.
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He said the country’s women were being saved from “traditional oppressions”, including forced marriages, by the adoption of Islamic governance.
“The status of women as a free and dignified human being has been restored and all institutions have been obliged to help women in securing marriage, inheritance and other rights,” he said.
Akhunzada said the negative aspects of the country’s 20-year occupation related to women’s wearing of the hijab and “misguidance” will end soon.
Since returning to power in August 2021, Taliban authorities have stopped girls and women from attending high school or university, banned them from parks, gyms and public baths, and ordered them to cover up when leaving home.
They have also barred them from working for the United Nations or NGOs, while most female government employees have been dismissed from their jobs or are being paid to stay at home.
Akhunzada’s claim comes days after the UN warned Kabul that restrictions on women and girls make recognition of the Taliban government “nearly impossible”.
“In my regular discussions with the de facto authorities, I am blunt about the obstacles they have created for themselves by the decrees and restrictions they have enacted, in particular against women and girls,” Roza Otunbayeva, the UN envoy to the country and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), told the UN Security Council on Wednesday.
“We have conveyed to them that as long as these decrees are in place, it is nearly impossible that their government will be recognised by members of the international community,” Otunbayeva said.
In his message, Akhunzada reiterated his call for other countries to stop interfering in Afghanistan’s internal affairs. He said the Taliban government wants good political and economic relations with the world, especially with Muslim-majority countries, and has fulfilled its responsibility in this regard.
Akhunzada’s message also condemned Israel’s behaviour towards the Palestinians and called on the people and government of Sudan to set aside their differences and work together for unity and brotherhood.