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Taliban touts 'Islamic system' as best for Afghans

June 20, 2021

The Taliban has promised to "accommodate all rights" of women and men, in line with Islamic and Afghan traditions. Concerns are rising that the militant group will roll back 20 years of progress on women's rights.

Women sit in a park for picnic in Ghazni on June 3, 2021
The Taliban has said a 'genuine Islamic system' would include rights for womenImage: Wakil Khosar/AFP/Getty Images

The Taliban on Sunday touted "a genuine Islamic system" as the best way to end the war in Afghanistan and ensure rights, including for women.

The Islamic militants made the comments in a statement that reaffirmed their commitment to peace talks with representatives from the Afghan government.

The talks are taking place in Qatar, but progress between the two sides has slowed. Meanwhile, violence has risen dramatically across the country ahead of the withdrawal of US and other foreign forces by September 11.

"Our very participation in the negotiations... indicates openly that we believe in resolving issues through [mutual] understanding," Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the head of the Taliban's political office, said in the statement.

Taliban's plan for a 'genuine Islamic system'

Baradar's statement outlines how Afghan society might look once foreign troops have withdrawn. It hopes to "address concerns" from Afghans and the international community.

There is particular concern over how women would be treated by the hard-line Islamic group.

Baradar said the Taliban would commit to "accommodating all rights of citizens" in the country, "whether they are male or female."

He said this would be "in the light of the rules of the glorious religion of Islam and the noble traditions of the Afghan society."

He added that "facilities would be provided" for women to work and be educated.

It was not clear whether the Taliban would allow women to carry out public roles and whether workplaces and schools would be segregated by gender.

Baradar stressed the Taliban would make sure that minorities, humanitarian organizations and diplomats could continue operating in safety.

He additionally called on Afghan youths not to leave the country.

Growing fear and uncertainty about the future has driven many Afghans to try and leave, including thousands of men and women who fear reprisals because they worked with foreign forces.

Taliban could 'roll back' women's rights

Before being ousted by the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban imposed their harsh version of Islamic law. This included strict rules limiting women and girls' participation in society.

Under the Taliban, girls were banned from school and women accused of crimes such as adultery were stoned to death in stadiums.

Women were also barred from working outside their homes and prohibited from being in public without a male relative.

In May, US intelligence analysts released an assessment that the Taliban "would roll back much" of the progress made in Afghan women's rights if the Islamic extremists regained national power.

kmm/mm (AFP, Reuters)

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