Women in Afghanistan show strong opposition against all-male Taliban govt.


Dozens of Afghan women demonstrated in Kabul and the north-eastern province of Badakhshan against the formation of an all-male interim Taliban government, saying they would not accept a government with no women ministers.

Some women were reportedly beaten before the protests were dispersed while local news organization Etilaatroz said some of its journalists were detained and beaten for covering the rally.

The Taliban, who have not responded to the allegations, warned that such protests were illegal and said protesters needed permission to march, and should not use what they called abusive language.

On Tuesday, three people were killed during a demonstration in the western city of Herat.

The EU said the Islamist group had reneged on promises to make their government “inclusive and representative”, while the US also expressed concern that the interim government includes figures linked to attacks on US forces.

Addressing reporters after a virtual meeting of 20 Western nations on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Taliban’s government “certainly does not meet the test of inclusivity, and it includes people who have very challenging track records”.

“The Taliban seek international legitimacy and support – any legitimacy, any support, will have to be earned,” he said.

But China said on Wednesday that it welcomed the end of what it called “three weeks of anarchy” in Afghanistan, and pledged US$31m (£22m) in immediate aid.

The formation of an interim government, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters, is “a necessary step to restore order and rebuild the country”.

The anti-Taliban National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRF) have urged the international community not to recognise the new government, calling the cabinet “illegal” and “a clear sign of the group’s enmity with the Afghan people”.

The NRF, led by Ahmad Massoud, the son of the late resistance icon Ahmad Shah Massoud, have been fighting Taliban militants in the Panjshir Valley north of Kabul, which was Afghanistan’s last anti-Taliban stronghold.

The Taliban insist they have now defeated the NRF in Panjshir, but NRF leaders say they are still fighting.

On Tuesday the Taliban announced the first appointments to their interim cabinet, which will be led by Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund.

Hassan Akhund served as foreign minister, and then later deputy prime minister, when the Taliban last ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. Like many of the new cabinet ministers he is under UN sanctions for his position in that government.

Speaking to Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera on Wednesday, Hassan Akhund said former Afghan officials should return to the country and that their security and safety would be guaranteed.

He said Taliban leaders face great responsibility towards the Afghan people, adding: “We have suffered heavy losses for this historical moment and the era of bloodshed in Afghanistan is over.”

Another incoming minister, SirajuddinHaqqani, is head of the notorious Haqqani network.

The Haqqani network has been designated a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) by the US. It also maintains close ties to al-Qaeda.

The FBI says Haqqani was behind some of the deadliest attacks of the 20-year-long war, including a truck bomb explosion in Kabul in 2017 that killed more than 150 people.

He is wanted by the FBI over a 2008 attack on a hotel that killed an American.

Earlier on Tuesday, a statement attributed to Taliban Supreme Leader Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada told the government to uphold Sharia law – Islam’s legal system. The Taliban have been known for their extremely hardline interpretation of Sharia. (Source: BBC)