Afghan women in Afghanistan and Pakistan have joined forces in a series of protests against recent statements made by Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, that suggested the international community should officially recognise Taliban rule. The protestors argue that supporting the Taliban would be a death sentence for women and girls in Afghanistan and would further violate their human rights.
In Kabul, members of the Afghan Women’s Solidarity Protest movement held an indoor demonstration, drawing a red ‘X’ on a photograph of Amina Mohammed and accusing the Taliban of being murderers and criminals. Their placards read: “Don’t recognize the Taliban”, “Don’t let them bury us alive”, “Supporting the terrorist is acting with terrorists”, “United Nations betray humanity”, and “No to ignorance, not to the Taliban!”
The demonstrators argue that legitimizing the Taliban is an affront to humanity. Some also argued that they feel they are being subjected to a global conspiracy that has brought the Taliban to power. “Please don’t hang the ring of slavery on our necks forever,” one protestor said.
In a video of the protest, seen by Rukhshana Media, one girl says, “I am an Afghan girl, the Talib is my enemy and humanity’s enemy, no to the Taliban, no to ignorance.” Another protester echoes this sentiment, asking countries around the world not to recognize the “terrorist and barbaric Taliban.”
In a separate Kabul indoor protest, members of the Coalition of Afghan Women’s Protest Movements accused the United Nations of violating international laws and argued that the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) should not cooperate with the Taliban.
In a video shared with Rukhshana Media, the women expressed extreme disappointment and devastation at Amina Mohammed’s statements about recognition for the Taliban. They said such a move would be a death sentence for Afghan women and girls.
According to the group, Amina Mohammed is discussing approval of the Taliban while the Taliban denies half of Afghan society their human rights and has turned Afghanistan again into a safe haven for terrorists and criminals. They warned that recognition of the Taliban would only embolden the group and exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
Amina Mohammed’s suggested this week in public remarks to an audience at the Princeton school of Public and International Affairs that a conference in the coming weeks would examine granting recognition to the Taliban.
“We hope that we’ll find those baby steps to put us back on the pathway to recognition [of the Taliban], a principled recognition,” Mohammed said to the audience. “Is it possible? I don’t know. [But] that discussion has to happen. The Taliban clearly want recognition, and that’s the leverage we have.”
In Pakistan, Afghan women and girls also reacted, voicing their strong opposition to Amina Mohammed, arguing that women and girls are suffering under the Taliban’s rule. They called for more attention to be paid to the human rights situation in Afghanistan and carried placards reading: “Recognition of Taliban is a violation of women’s rights”, “To the United Nations, wake up your sleeping consciences”, and “Wake up! Advocates of democracy, humanity, and women’s rights!”
Tahira Naseri, a women’s rights activist and one of the protesters, said that women from various Afghan movements had gathered for the demonstration. She urged the international community and the United Nations not to recognize the “criminal and murderous” Taliban regime in Afghanistan and to cease any support for them.
She said instead the world should impose more sanctions on the Taliban and end its relations with the group’s officials. She pointed out that the United Nations has provided millions of dollars in packages labelled as humanitarian aid since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. However, she claims that not even “a cent” has reached those in need.
Naseri further implored the United Nations not to ignore the resistance and struggles of the Afghan people against the Taliban, particularly women and girls. She called for them to support their cause until they secure their rights.