Taliban dismisses UN report as ‘attempt to sway public opinion’ ahead of Doha meeting

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. Photo: Reuters

KABUL, Afghanistan — Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on Wednesday dismissed UN Special Rapporteur Richard Bennett’s recent report as an attempt to “mislead public opinion ahead of the Doha meeting.”

Mujahid made the remarks in a post on X in response to Bennett’s report that states that the “systematic oppression of women and girls by the Taliban” could amount to “crimes against humanity.”

Bennett also urged the U.N. not to treat the Taliban as a recognized government in Afghanistan.

Mujahid countered by accusing certain U.N. officials of consistently delivering “inaccurate reports” about Afghanistan.

Without addressing specific issues, he dismissed the human rights and women’s rights concerns highlighted in Bennett’s report as “limited subjects” that overshadow the “significant progress” made by the Taliban.

Despite this criticism, Mujahid welcomed the “supportive stance” of some U.N. member states, noting their advocacy for “positive and constructive engagement.”

Bennett, who presented his report on Tuesday at the U.N. office in Geneva, called on the Taliban to take immediate steps to restore the basic rights of women and girls.

He emphasized using “all available tools” to dismantle the entrenched system of gender-based oppression by the Taliban and to hold those responsible accountable.

Bennett noted that these tools include international accountability mechanisms such as the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice.

He also stressed that he would oppose legitimizing the Taliban leadership until significant, tangible, and verified progress is made on human rights issues.