Afghanistan dispatches: Taliban seek aid from Islamic foreign ministers but show no signs of changing policies, structures
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Afghanistan dispatches: Taliban seek aid from Islamic foreign ministers but show no signs of changing policies, structures

Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation there after the Taliban takeover. Here, a Staff Correspondent for JURIST in Kabul reports on Sunday’s OIC Foreign Ministers meeting in Islamabad on Afghanistan. For privacy and security reasons, we are withholding his name. The text has been only lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.

Pakistan has hosted the 17th Extraordinary Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Foreign Ministers on Afghanistan. At the start of the meeting Sunday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that now is the time for the international community to stand with the people of Afghanistan to prevent a humanitarian crisis. According to him, Afghanistan’s economy is in complete collapse.

But he also described the meeting as historic for Afghanistan. According to Qureshi, 70 delegations attended the meeting, which included the foreign ministers of 20 countries and dozens of deputy foreign ministers. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan convened the meeting, which was hosted in Islamabad.

Representatives from the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia, Germany, Italy and Japan also attended.

Amir Khan Mottaqi, the Taliban’s acting foreign minister, told the meeting that the Taliban accepted all the fair proposals and concerns of Islamic countries that would lead to an end to the current crisis. Furthermore, in his speech, he stressed that the Taliban, as “members of one family” are ready to accept all the just demands, concerns and suggestions of Islamic countries regarding Afghanistan that will lead to a way out of the current crisis.

The acting Taliban’s foreign minister stressed that the Taliban, as a “responsible government and representative of the citizens of Afghanistan,” is committed to ensuring human rights, women’s rights and the participation of worthy figures in political affairs.

Amir Khan Mottaqi assured the foreign ministers that the Taliban will respect human rights and women’s rights, although human rights organizations accuse the Taliban of violating them. According to a recent Amnesty International report and many reports by local media, the Taliban tortured and killed members of the former government’s security forces after seizing power. Concerns regarding women’s rights also remain unanswered by the Taliban. With the fall of the previous government, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs was removed and the Taliban did not include women in their caretaker cabinet. In addition, their caretaker government has so far not allowed female students higher than the sixth grade to attend school. Women are still cannot go to work in the country after almost five months of the Taliban in power.

Amir Khan Mottaqi claimed that with the Taliban in control of Afghanistan, the 43-year war was over for the first time in four decades. He also said that security in Afghanistan is now established, and that there are numerous opportunities for foreign investment in the country. He urged the international community, particularly Islamic nations, to invest in Afghanistan. The acting Taliban foreign minister assured that all necessary facilities would be provided for investment in the country.

Regarding the foreign investment, my understanding of the current situation is that the Taliban are unable to provide safety and security to the foreign nationals in Afghanistan currently. There are explosions almost every day in Afghanistan.

Amir Khan Mottaqi also stated that all government departments have resumed normal operations, and that approximately 500,000 former government employees have resumed their previous duties. No one has been discriminated against in the government entities, he claims. The fact is, however, that there are no official records showing the number of government employees currently working.

Most Islamic countries have called on the Taliban to respect women’s rights and form an inclusive government. There are currently no tribal representatives in the Taliban acting cabinet, and women have been sidelined. The Taliban, however, have denied the allegations, saying they represent all Afghans, the government is already inclusive and every tribe has a representative.