‘Afghan Taliban pledged support for women’s education during talks’

May 10, 2015 12:00 am | Updated 05:52 am IST - KABUL:

The Afghan Taliban, condemned for their misogynistic ideology, were surprisingly open with female delegates who attended peace talks in Qatar, pledging support for women’s education and their right to work in “male-dominated professions”, activists said.

Denied basic rights

Women were brutally consigned to the shadows during the Taliban’s 1996-2001 rule in Afghanistan, denied basic human rights and not allowed to leave their homes without a male chaperone.

But three women who were part of a 20-member Afghan delegation that held informal peace talks with insurgent representatives in Qatar last weekend said they were unanticipatedly receptive to their viewpoint.

“Taliban participants reportedly pledged support for women’s education up to the university level and vowed to permit women to work outside the home, ‘even in male-dominated professions like engineering’,” Heather Barr, a senior Human Rights Watch researcher on women’s rights in Asia, said in a statement.

Former MP and women’s rights activist Malalai Shinwari, who attended the talks, also said the Taliban representatives voiced support for woman lawmakers and for the right of women to choose their own spouse.

Shinwari was accompanied by two young Afghan women who serve as defence lawyers for Taliban detainees.— AFP

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