Afghan women Saturday marched in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul to urge the UN not to formally recognize the Taliban government at a UN summit scheduled for next week. Approximately two dozen women took to the streets despite the Taliban government’s increasingly strict crackdowns on women.
During the march, protesters chanted that they would fight and die for their rights and condemned the UN, stating that the recognition of the Taliban would be a violation of women’s rights.
An upcoming UN summit on Afghanistan scheduled for May 1 and 2 in Doha, Qatar sparked the protests. UN Secretary-General António Guterres is scheduled to host closed-door discussions with several countries regarding approaches to Afghanistan’s political situation. The list of countries set to attend has not yet been released, but UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric confirmed Friday that the Taliban was not invited.
Dujarric described the summit as a way “to reinvigorate the international engagement around the common objectives for a durable way forward on the situation in Afghanistan.” Protesters Saturday urged the UN not to recognize the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan, but Dujarric said Friday that recognition was “not an issue on the table” for the summit.
Tensions have been high between Afghanistan and the UN since the Taliban banned women workers from the UN in early April. Following the ban, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said they were weighing whether to continue operations in Afghanistan. Dujarric addressed UNAMA’s earlier statement Friday, stating that the UN is “committed to staying in Afghanistan” and “delivering aid based on humanitarian principles.”
The ban on women working for the UN was the Taliban’s most recent crackdown on Afghan women and girls. Previously, in December 2022, the Taliban banned women from attending university. In the same week, the Taliban ordered domestic and international NGOs to cease employment of women staff members.