KABUL: The Taliban remain illegitimate leaders despite a statement by thousands of male clerics supporting their extremist government, Afghan women activists said on Sunday.
The clerics pledged allegiance to the Taliban and their reclusive leader on Saturday after a three-day meeting failed to address thorny issues such as the right of teenage girls to go to school.
The Taliban last week insisted that women be represented at the meeting – which is attended by more than 3,500 men – but only by their sons and husbands.
“Published statements or statements swearing allegiance to the Taliban at a rally or event without the presence of half the country’s population, women, are not acceptable,” said Hoda Khamosh, a rights activist currently in exile in Norway.
“This summit…has no legitimacy, validity or popular approval.”
The Taliban imposed severe restrictions on Afghans, especially women. Secondary school girls have been barred from education and women have been barred from government jobs, banned from traveling alone and forced to dress in clothes that cover everything but their faces.
In Kabul, a collective of women’s groups also criticized the gathering of clerics as unrepresentative. “The ulema (clerics) are only a part of society, they are not the whole,” organizer Ainoor Uzbik said after a press conference.
“The decisions they have taken only serve their own interests and are not in the interest of the country and its people. There was nothing for women on the agenda, nor in the press release.
In a statement, the collective said men like the Taliban previously held absolute power in history – but usually only for a short time before being dropped.
Posted in Dawn, July 4, 2022