The Taliban on Sunday insisted that a “genuine Islamic system” was the only way to end the decades-long war in Afghanistan and ensure women’s rights in line with cultural traditions and religious rules. Under the Taliban’s harsh version of Islamic law, girls were banned from school and women accused of crimes such as adultery were stoned to death in stadiums.
“We understand that the world and Afghans have queries and questions about the form of the system to be established following withdrawal of foreign troops,” Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the head of the Taliban’s political office, said in the statement.
“A genuine Islamic system is the best means for the solution of all issues of the Afghans,” he added.
The government officials have said that the hardline Islamic group is yet to submit a written peace proposal that could be used as a starting point for substantive peace talks. Amid slow progress on intra-Afghan negotiations in Qatar and withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, many fear that the Taliban’s interpretation of rights will clash with changes that have happened in the country since 2001.
While Baradar assured the rights of all Afghans, including women and minorities, would be protected according to “the glorious religion of Islam” and Afghan traditions, it was not clear whether women would be allowed to carry out public roles and no gender-based segregation would be enforced at workplaces and schools.
“We take it on ourselves as a commitment to accommodate all rights of citizens of our country, whether they are male or female, in the light of the rules of the glorious religion of Islam and the noble traditions of the Afghan society,” Baradar said, adding that ‘facilities would be provided’ for women to work and be educated.
In May, a US intelligence report said if the Taliban were again Afghanistan’s dominant power, it “would roll back much” of the progress made on the women’s rights front in the country. The report cautioned that though some Taliban officials publicly say that the group will respect women’s rights, they caveat that these protections must align with Taliban interpretations of sharia. According to the report, the Taliban “remains broadly consistent in its restrictive approach” to women’s rights and enforces strict social constraints in areas that it already controls.
“Since the current peace process started in 2019, Taliban officials have issued statements opposing “alien-culture clothes worn by women” and have accused women’s rights advocates of promoting immorality, indecency, and non-Islamic culture,” the report highlighted.