We cannot abandon women of Afghanistan: UN deputy chief

UN deputy chief Amina Mohammed on Wednesday spoke about her trip to Afghanistan that seems to have not succeeded to convince the Taliban to reverse their bans on women in the country, but she reiterated that the organization cannot leave women in the South Asian nation.

Amina Mohammed met with various Taliban leaders in Kabul and Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan where he held talks with the Taliban’s deputy governor.

“We cannot leave and abandon the women of Afghanistan. It’s not when it gets hard that we drop off. It’s when it gets hard that they see more of us and that we’re there in solidarity with them” she said.

“I hope this trip has contributed to reinforcing our demands that these bans are reversed, reinforcing the demands of women’s rights and girls’ rights to be respected,” she added.

“In the case of the engagement with the Taliban, their message was of one script. All things they say they have done and they have not recognized for, we reminded them that even in the case where they talked about the rights edicts that they had promulgated protecting women, they were giving rights with one hand and taking away with the other, and that was not acceptable,” the UN official said.

Mohammed said they reminded the Taliban that non-discrimination was a key part of humanitarian principles and that they were wiping out “our women from the workplace.”

She added that she reminded the Taliban of women in Islam who took part in business and education.

Two key UN officials have visited Kabul over the past two weeks after the Taliban banned women from working in NGOs and attending universities.

The group has not made a decision on its bans on women but has said that these are “temporary” and that a solution will be found for them.

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths who also met with Taliban leaders this week said that the humanitarian organizations are seeking “exceptions” for the return of women aid workers to their jobs.

The unprecedented cold snap over the past two weeks has complicated life for millions of Afghans who are already grappling with increasing poverty. Quoting Taliban officials, Reuters reported that at least 150 have died of cold weather in Afghanistan this year.