Antoinette Tyrrell (European views) | The European Union issued a joint statement expressing deep concern for the plight of Afghan women and girls following the withdrawal of US forces from the country and the return to power of the Taliban.
The statement was issued jointly with Albania, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Macedonia North, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Senegal, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States of America.
All affected countries used the declaration to express their grave concern about Afghan women and girls and their rights to education, work and freedom of movement and to call on those in power in Afghanistan to protect the 14 million women who live in the country.
The statement says, âWe are deeply concerned about Afghan women and girls, their rights to education, to work and to freedom of movement. We call on those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan to ensure their protection. ‘
The Taliban regime in Afghanistan in the 1990s erased women’s rights and adopted an extreme interpretation of Islamic law, meaning that girls over 10 are denied education, women are denied education. not allowed to work and can only leave their home in the presence of a male relative and when wearing a burqa to ensure that no part of their skin is visible.
In his first press conference since his return to power, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid pledged that women’s rights would be respected under the new regime. Speaking to the media, he said women would be allowed to work and study, but warned that, saying “under Sharia law”.
In clear terms, he said that women âcan have activities in different fields and serve in education and health, but of course in the frameworks that we haveâ.
Local reports from Kandahar in July pointed out that female bank workers were told to leave their workplaces by Taliban fighters and said their male relatives could take up their jobs.
The EU-backed statement says: âAfghan women and girls, like all Afghans, deserve to live in safety, security and dignity. All forms of discrimination and abuse must be avoided. We, the members of the international community, stand ready to help them with humanitarian aid and support, to ensure that their voices are heard.
The statement also pledged to continuously monitor the situation, stating: “We will closely monitor how any future government guarantees the rights and freedoms that have become an integral part of the lives of women and girls in Afghanistan over the years. last twenty years “.