Taliban admit there “might” not be women in senior government positions

Dozens of women demonstrate in Herat to call for an inclusive government

The Taliban have admitted that “there might” not be women among the top positions in their future government, claiming that their members will be chosen on the basis of their “merits”, which increases the fear of an administration with zero inclusiveness in terms of gender.

The ‘number two’ of the Taliban office in Doha, Inayatulhaq Yasini, has explained to the BBC that women “have the right to be” in the administration that is being negotiated, but has implied that their presence, widely claimed by organizations Human Rights defenders and the international community, can be testimonial.

Thus, he assumes that “there could” be no women, “especially in the main positions”, which if true would constitute, for example, appointing only men as ministers.

Dozens of women have demonstrated this Thursday in the Afghan city of Herat to demand that the Taliban not conform to a regime made up solely of men, in an unprecedented protest in this town since the insurgents took control of Kabul on 15 August.

During the march, of which media such as Tolo News or the Jaama agency have published images, the protesters have displayed banners in which they argue that “no government is sustainable without women.” Among the attendees were activists, university students and civil servants.

The Taliban have promised that women will not lose rights, or at least not regress to the irrelevance they had in 2001, during the previous stage of the so-called Islamic Emirate. However, they have made it clear that the ‘sharia’ or Islamic law will be the red line that they will take into account.

The international community, led by the United Nations, has called for the rights of all sexes to be respected as well. UN Women Executive Director Pramila Patten warned this week that the incorporation of women into the future administration will be a “litmus test” to verify the true commitment of the Taliban to rights and freedoms.

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