Afghan women activists are considered leaders "Taliban" illegal

Afghan women activists considered the Taliban leaders “illegitimate” despite thousands of religious leaders supporting their hardline Islamic regime.

Some 3,500 high-ranking religious figures from across Afghanistan swore allegiance to the Taliban and its leader, Hebatullah Akhundzade, on Saturday after three days of meetings in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

Taliban-sponsored meetings did not address sensitive issues such as girls’ secondary education.

The meeting called for an oath of allegiance to Akhundzade and loyalty to the Taliban, as well as the full application of Islamic law, the basic principle of governance.

In response to a question about the absence of women from meetings, the movement clarified that their presence was not necessary in order to be represented by male relatives.

“Announcing or swearing allegiance to the Taliban at a gathering or event without the presence of half of the country’s population, women, is unacceptable,” Hoda Khamoush, an Afghan human rights activist living in exile in Norway, told AFP.

She added: “This gathering (…) has no legitimacy or value and has not been approved by the people.”

In Kabul, women’s groups have criticized a gathering of clergy for lack of “representation”.

“Religious leaders are only part of society,” Ainur Ozbek, a member of these groups, told AFP.

She added: “The decisions they have made serve only their interests, not the interests of the nation and its people. Neither the program nor the (final) statement had anything for women.”

The activist pointed out that “the only thing the Afghans can do is raise their voice and demand that the international community put pressure on the Taliban.”

Since the return of the Taliban to power last August, the Islamic movement has imposed severe restrictions on Afghans, especially women, in line with its strict interpretation of Sharia.

Girls were forbidden to attend secondary schools, women were forbidden to hold public office and travel without a mahram, they were ordered to wear clothes that covered them completely, except for their faces.

Source: AFP.

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