Taliban push for control of more Afghan diplomatic missions

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The Taliban government is trying to take over more Afghan embassies abroad, a spokesperson said Saturday, amid their continued international isolation due to restrictions on women and girls.

The Taliban initially promised more moderate rule after taking power in August 2021, but instead imposed sweeping bans and other measures restricting basic freedoms.

The UN and foreign governments have strongly condemned restrictions on women’s education and employment, and the international community remains cautious about officially recognizing the Taliban, although some countries maintain an active diplomatic mission in Afghanistan. including Pakistan, Turkey, Qatar and China.

“The Islamic Emirate has sent diplomats to at least 14 countries and efforts are underway to support other diplomatic missions abroad,” senior government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement. video. “Diplomats from the former government are continuing their activities in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

The administration has sent its diplomats to Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Russia, China, Kazakhstan and other Arab and African countries, according to Mujahid. He gave no further details.

READ MORE: Taliban ban women from working for domestic and foreign NGOs in Afghanistan

In February, authorities ceded control of the Afghan Embassy in Tehran to Taliban government envoys. It was previously made up of emissaries from the former US-backed Afghan government.

Deputy government spokesman Bilal Karimi was unable to immediately provide figures on the number of active Afghan diplomatic missions abroad or the number of missions supported by the administration since August 2021.

“There are many embassies abroad. The Islamic Emirate wants to have diplomatic relations with all countries and move forward with good interactions,” he told The Associated Press. “We hope that embassies will be opened in all countries from the start of official relations with the Islamic Emirate”.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman did not respond to questions from the AP about the embassies.

In January, the most senior woman in the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, said the Taliban wanted international recognition and Afghanistan’s seat at the UN, currently held by the former government led by Ashraf Ghani.

“Recognition is a lever we have and must hold on to,” she said after meeting Taliban ministers in Kabul and Kandahar to try to reverse the crackdown on women and girls.

They banned girls from college, high school, and university and banned women from most fields of employment, including non-governmental groups. Women have also been ordered to wear head-to-toe clothing in public and are barred from parks and gymnasiums.

WATCH: Women and girls fight for human rights in Afghanistan one year after Taliban takeover

Schools reopened for the new academic year last week without teenage girls, more than 18 months after the ban on secondary education came into effect.

Universities reopened after the winter break in early March without their female students, and the ban on NGO work is still in place, although some aid agencies have partially resumed operations through exemptions.

Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said on Friday that more than three months have passed since the “intolerable ban” on female aid workers in Afghanistan. “We have made local progress, allowing women to return to work, but we are still waiting for national authorizations.”


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