Muslim Foreign Ministers to Make Women’s Rights Plea to Taliban

Foreign ministers from several countries are planning to travel to Kabul to make a plea with the Taliban to allow women and girls access to education.  

The Taliban recently barred girls from attending secondary school. The foreign ministers plan to urge the Taliban to recognize that blocking women and girls from access to education is a distortion of the Islamic faith, not an act to uphold it, as the Taliban has said. 

The foreign ministers come from Muslim-majority countries. The proposal has the support of western diplomats as well. 

The most likely leaders to go to Kabul are the Turkish foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and the Indonesian foreign minister, Retno Marsudi. Marsudi is considered the most senior Muslim female diplomat in the world. 

In a joint press conference, Çavuşoğlu and Marsudi said they plan to go to Kabul alongside other leaders soon. 

The two leaders devised the plan during the UN General Assembly in September. 

At the G20 special conference on Afghanistan this past week, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan proposed a G20 permanent working group to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, and furthermore, to figure out how to work with the Taliban to ensure a more inclusive government.

The Taliban had originally promised an inclusive government — something that has simply not happened since they took power several weeks ago. The Taliban told all women who worked within the government to go home, and that they would be replaced by men. 

Women’s rights activists around the world have made pleas for urgent action to protect women and girls under Taliban rule.

The list of actions the Taliban has done to roll back rights for women continues growing longer, and includes barring women from education, barring them from government work, firing all of the female judges, and a decree that they must wear the burqa in all public places.

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