Afghan women have called on former Afghan president Hamid Karzai to pay attention to the tyranny of the Taliban after his public comments that the group should not be forcibly removed from power.
Mr Karzai told Japanese news agency Kyodo News in an interview that the Taliban’s de facto government of Afghanistan should not be eliminated through conflict and the international community should work towards an inclusive government.
“We don’t want conflict in this country anymore. Conflict will make things even worse than they are today,” Karzai told Kyodo News in an interview at his residence in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul.
“We don’t want a collapse of the regime or split of the regime. We have had enough of that in Afghanistan. We want improvements in policy. We want all Afghans getting together to build the future,” he said.
The publication of the interview on November 28 has provoked a strong response from among Afghan women.
“Mr Karzai’s words were disappointing; Mr Karzai has supported the Taliban many times openly, and secretly during his administration, every crime committed by the Taliban, he treated them with pity and kindness and called them ‘brothers’,”women’s rights activist Tahira Naseri told Rukhshana Media.
“Even though he sees that women and girls in Afghanistan are deprived of all their human and citizenship rights and privileges, and the Taliban has completely removed women from all fields in Afghanistan with their fundamentalist ideology, he still supports them.”
Mrs Naseri said the international community shouldn’t support the Taliban in power but instead continue to recognize it as a terrorist group that has imposed “great suffering” on Afghan people throughout history, and to refrain from interacting with them.
She called on the international community to provide the basis for Afghanistan’s government to be based on the will of the people so that its citizens can achieve “real peace and tranquility”.
Women’s rights activist and head of Purple Saturdays Movement Maryam Maruf Arwin also rejected Mr Karzai’s depiction of the Taliban as ‘brothers’, pointing to its history of attacks including setting girls’ schools on fire, bombing mosques and public places, and killing and maiming Afghan citizens across the country.
Mrs Arwin said that Mr Karzai has closed his eyes to all the crimes the authoritarian group has committed while in power in the past two years, with tyrannical and brutal use of force to silence women and gain legitimacy.
She said the people of Afghanistan should resolve their challenges based on today’s norms of governance and focus on bringing forward an alternative to the Taliban that is democratic and decentralized.
Hamid Karzai was president of Afghanistan from 2022 to 2014. After the Taliban took control of the country in 2021, he remained in Kabul with his family.