KABUL: A leading Afghan women’s group urged Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar not to forget their plight as she visited Kabul Tuesday to discuss relations with the country’s Taliban rulers.
The trip by Khar, Islamabad’s first woman foreign minister in 2011 but now a minister of state, comes weeks after the Taliban imposed new restrictions on Afghan women, barring them from parks, fun fairs, gyms and public baths.
The UN special rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan said Friday that Taliban restrictions on women and girls could amount to a “crime against humanity”.
“You serve as an example of the status of women in our neighbouring country,” the Afghan Women’s Network, representing several activist groups, said in an open letter to Khar.
“We call on you to use your visit not only as a minister but as a woman and as a Muslim woman leader to support the women of Afghanistan and strengthen our solidarity.”
The minister also met a delegation from Women’s Chamber of Commerce, where she expressed keen interest in strengthening linkages between entrepreneurs of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
No country has recognised the Taliban government and visits by foreign diplomats — let alone high-profile women — are rare.
Khar is in Kabul, leading a high-level delegation of Pakistani officials to meet the Afghan government officials during a day’s visit. The bilateral talks came after Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) called off a months-long ceasefire with Pakistan.