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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Qatar, France urge Taliban to respect women’s rights during Doha presser

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France said it is still working on evacuating the French nationals left behind in Afghanistan.

Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said he asked the Taliban to respect women’s rights and follow the examples of Muslim countries during his visit to Kabul on Sunday.

The Qatari diplomat’s comments came in a joint press conference in Doha on Monday with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian.

“We reiterate and call on the Taliban that they have to preserve the rights of Afghans and respect women’s rights in Afghanistan. We gave them the examples of many Islamic countries such as Qatar, where women play various roles in different sectors,” Sheikh Mohammed told the press.

Both countries called on the Taliban to fulfil promises made to the international community in preserving the rights of Afghans, protecting women and committing to plans for an inclusive government.

Responding to questions over women’s rights in Afghanistan, Qatar’s foreign minister said Doha “does not accept any violations, especially against women”.

The Taliban have made several promises to protect the rights of women and girls amid heightened concerns over a potential oppression of females in Kabul that was seen during the 90s.

There are strong relations between Qatar and France, Qatar is a friendly country and we [continue] to have important dialogue and our only concern is to achieve peace and stability in this part of the world,” Le Drian told the press, thanking the Gulf state for evacuating French nationals from Kabul.

The French foreign minister said his country will continue to evacuate tens of French nationals who remain in Afghanistan. So far, up to 3,000 have already left since the Taliban takeover.

Le Drian also said combatting terrorism is among the key areas of discussion, stressing the importance of maintaining a commitment to the United Nations Security Council’s resolution 2593, which prohibits the use of Afghan territories to carry out terrorism-related activities.

“I think that we have very clearly stated the demands of the international community either to resolution 2593 or through the various meetings with EU foreign ministers last week,” said Le Drian.

Qatar’s FM meets new Taliban leadership in first Kabul trip since takeover

Meanwhile, questions over the recognition of the Taliban have remained on the surface of diplomatic negotiations, with officials saying this is not a priority as the worsening humanitarian situation in the country needs more attention.

“Yesterday in our discussion with the government there we encouraged them to engage with the international community because as we stated since the beginning the role of Qatar has been impartial. Isolation is not an answer, recognition is not a priority,” said Qatar’s foreign minister.

“What we believe can be helpful and more constructive is to engage with the Taliban to make sure the positive statements they put out are also followed with actions,” he added, saying he advises the group to be open and engage with the public.

The French foreign minister said France will be judging the Taliban based on its actions rather than statements.

Ahead of his trip to Qatar, Le Drian accused the Taliban of lying about allowing foreigners and Afghans to freely leave the country if they have travel documents, dismissing plans to form ties with the group.

“They said they would let some foreigners and Afghans leave freely and [talked] of an inclusive and representative government, but they are lying,” Le Drian told France 5 TV on Sunday.

Last week, the group unveiled a new government with Akhund serving as the new prime minister and the its co-founder, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar assuming the position of his deputy.

Speaking at the announcement on 7 September, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, who is also the deputy information and culture minister, said there are other seats in the administration who have yet to be appointed.

Despite promises by the Taliban to form an inclusive government amid international calls to ensure all Afghan parties are included, the newly-announced administration consists of mainly Taliban and Haqqani members.

There was also no mention of a replacement for the former Ministry of Women’s Affairs, nor the inclusion of any women in the new administration.

Commenting on the new interim government, Le Drian said “the response we have seen from Kabul so far is not up to our expectations”.

“The response we heard in Kabul does not respond to the concerns of the international community. We heard a lot of talks, but that did not materialise. We continue to apply pressure at all levels to ensure these authorities maintain the promises they made,” he said.


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