The Taliban are still illegitimate rulers: Afghan women activists

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 – which took power last August – have since tried to present the meeting as a vote of confidence in their vision of a pure Islamic state totally subservient to sharia.

They insisted last week 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 human rights activist. the man currently in exile in Norway. AFP.

“This summit…has no legitimacy, validity or popular approval.”

Since their return to power in August, the Taliban’s harsh interpretation of Sharia has 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.

The Taliban also banned the broadcast of non-religious music, ordered TV stations to stop airing movies and soap operas featuring uncovered women, and told men to dress in traditional attire and leave grow a beard.

In Kabul, a collective of women’s groups also criticized the gathering of clerics as unrepresentative.

“Ulema (clerics) are only part of society, they are not the whole,” said organizer Ainoor Uzbik. AFP after a press conference.

“The decisions they made 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 communiqué. “

In a statement, the collective said men like the Taliban had held absolute power before in history – but usually only for a short time before being dropped.

“The only thing Afghans can do is raise their voices and demand that the international community put pressure on the Taliban,” Uzbik said.