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Nothing to celebrate… even for the taliban

The United Nations and its functional agencies could be on the way out sometime next month if the Taliban did not roll back on an order banning women to work

Image - UN

Already billed as the most repressive country in the world for women and female children, Afghanistan certainty cannot take solace in the fact that the United Nations and its functional agencies could be on the way out sometime next month if the Taliban did not roll back on an order banning women to work for the international organization. It is not merely an economic issue of declaring “out of bounds” for women on almost anything and everything and denying basic education to young female children; it is one of elementary human rights that individuals all over yearn for. And something that the Taliban has not understood from the time it took power in August 2021.

Systematically the Taliban has been undermining the role of women and female children since the time of the takeover; denying the right to work for an international organization or a international NGO would make a repressible edict complete. For that matter within Afghanistan all those who had condemned the occupation by foreign forces of the United States and NATO, reluctantly admitted that the one thing everyone enjoyed was FREEDOM, essentially to do anything within the confines of acceptable rules and norms.

It is indeed a pathetic sight to see a vibrant segment of society—women and female kids—condemned under one pretext or another. The argument of the authoritarian regime in Kabul that the world at large should not be fixated on one thing but instead look at the positive things that are happening in the country by way of a small improvement in economic indicators is misplaced. Reports speak of some improvements in exports, inflation and exchange rate stabilization but per capital income is expected to fall to US$ 345 in 2024 from US$ 359 as a result of population growth.

The Taliban does not want to see the larger picture before the country and instead continue blaming the international community for the restrictions that have been placed on the regime in Kabul. What has enabled the United Nations’ functional agencies to continue with the humanitarian work is the Taliban’s interim or temporary decision to allow women in some sectors like education and health. But these again are shifting decisions with the regime issuing new decrees as and when it pleases without the basic understanding that the international system is not in a position to condone gross violation of human rights that includes trampling on the rights of women and female children.

With the exception of one or two outliers who share the same belief on human rights no nation with a conscience is willing to touch Afghanistan with a barge pole. And if there are a few in the neighborhood like India who are willing to reach out, it is to the people of Afghanistan not in any way legitimizing the scheme of things in Kabul. This is precisely why international agencies are in the Central Asian nation. Seeing the United Nations leave Afghanistan will be another sad and tragic chapter. Even the Taliban will find it difficult to celebrate.

The writer is Editor-in-Chief of New India Abroad ®