ISLAMABAD: Acting Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Amir Khan Muttaqi on Friday said that 75 per cent of girls in the country had resumed their studies in schools.
He was replying to a question about the situation of girls’ education rights in Afghanistan, at a talk organised by the Centre for Afghanistan, Middle East and Africa (CAMEA), here at the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI).
The Taliban, after taking control of the country in August, had closed the schools with thousands of girl students confined to their homes, attracting criticism by the international community.
However, Mr Muttaqi said that 75 per cent of girls had resumed their education after returning to schools.
He said that it was duplicity of the international community to emphasise on women’s education, but have little focus on the salary of teachers as the salary disbursement was getting difficult due to freezing of the country’s assets by the Western countries.
Challenges the rationale behind sanctions imposed by rights groups on war-hit nation
He mentioned the negative campaign in the foreign media against the interim government of Afghanistan and pointed out that 500,000 civil servants were now being paid and not a single person had been fired on the basis of political views. Also, no woman had been removed from her job, he claimed.
Mr Muttaqi said that Afghanistan had around 3,000 clinics and hospitals, which were still operational.
He said there was no rationale behind sanctions imposed by the international human rights champions on Afghanistan by freezing the country’s assets.
He said that reforms, which the international community wanted the interim government to work towards, could be done peacefully and not through pressure tactics. He said the current cabinet with all ethnicities had already fulfilled the requirement of the international community for an inclusive government.
“We are being punished for something which is a possibility in the future,” he said.
Mr Muttaqi added that his government wanted Afghanistan to be no more a conflict ground for major powers.
Afghanistan, he said, for the first time in 43 years had a central, responsible and sovereign government which had control over every inch of the territory.
“We, in Afghanistan have a historic opportunity to create a win-win situation for everyone. The new developments have opened up new opportunities for stability,” he said.
Muttaqi, who arrived here on Wednesday leading a delegation, shed light on the new developments in Afghanistan, besides expressing views on the new balanced foreign policy and relations with Pakistan.
“We must not be a prisoner of the past. The peace in Afghanistan means peace in Pakistan and vice versa. We are now pursuing a balanced policy,” he said.
The Afghan FM said there remained no anti-Pakistan elements in Afghanistan and the new government was trying its best to not let the territory be used against any country of the region.
The Afghan acting foreign minister said that since the takeover of Kabul, there was peace due to the support of the people. He claimed that the new government of Afghanistan did not pursue a policy of revenge.
Mr Muttaqi said that Afghanistan, owing to its unique geographical location, could serve as a point of connectivity for the entire region.
He mentioned that efforts were afoot to have a dialogue with Central Asian states for resumption of its trade with Pakistan which, he said, would also benefit Afghanistan.
He also expressed a desire to have a bilateral trade with Pakistan.
He appreciated Pakistan for hosting Afghan refugees for more than 40 years.
Director General of ISSI Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said that the situation in Afghanistan was a ground reality and the people of Afghanistan wanted peace.
“If there is chaos in Afghanistan, it will lead to terrorism,” he added.
Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2021