UN’s top woman envoy in Afghanistan for talks on Taliban crackdown

Senior United Nations officials, including the organization’s highest ranking woman, are in Kabul for talks, a UN spokesman has confirmed.

This comes just days after UN chief Antonio Guterres likened decisions by the Taliban to “gender-based apartheid.”

The UN delegation, which arrived on Monday, includes Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and Sima Bahous, executive secretary of UN Women, spokesman Farhan Haq said.

Also attending is Khaled Khiari, a senior official of the UN Department of Political Affairs, Haq said, declining to give further details of the visit citing security reasons.

Last week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres denounced the “unprecedented, systemic attacks on women’s and girls’ rights,” which he said “are creating gender-based apartheid.”

The UN delegation arrived in Afghanistan after visiting a number of Gulf, Asian and European countries where they discussed the situation in the country.

Haq said the UN officials were urged to convey “the urgency of the situation,” and put across a “clear consensus… on the issue of women’s and girls’ rights to work and have access to education.”

The visit comes in the wake of extreme restrictions being imposed on women by the Taliban, including the education ban on women and girls and the ban on women working for NGOs.

While details of the delegation’s visit to Afghanistan are sketchy, former president Hamid Karzai tweeted Wednesday morning that he had met with Amina Mohammad and her accompanying delegation.

He said in a series of tweets that the issue around women’s and girls’ education was discussed in their meeting along with the need for women to return to work.