Taliban say ban on women working for UN ‘internal social matter’

The decision to ban Afghan women from working for the United Nations was an “internal social matter”, the country’s Taliban authorities said Friday, a day after the UN Security Council demanded they overturn the ruling.

The Security Council resolution passed unanimously by all 15 Council members on Thursday said a ban on women working for the world body and NGOs in Afghanistan “undermines human rights and humanitarian principles”.

It urged “all States and organizations to use their influence” to “promote an urgent reversal of these policies and practices”.

On Friday, however, the Afghan Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying the resolution failed to respect the country’s “sovereign choices”.

“We remain committed to ensuring all rights of Afghan women while emphasizing that diversity must be respected and not politicized,” it said.

“This is an internal social matter of Afghanistan that does not impact outside states.”

Since ousting the foreign-backed government and returning to power in August 2021, Taliban authorities have imposed an austere version of sharia that the United Nations has labeled “gender-based apartheid”.

Women have been barred from most secondary education and universities, prevented from working in most government jobs as well as NGOs, and blocked from public spaces such as gyms and parks.

Earlier Friday, a senior Taliban leader warned the UN Security Council to give up its “failed policy of pressure”.

“Any position adopted, that is not based upon a deep understanding won’t give the desired results and will always be ineffective,” said Anas Haqqani, a senior leader in the Taliban movement but with no official government role.

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