ISLAMABAD: The head of Pakistan-based liaison office for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Malick Ceesay, has said easing restrictions on women’s access to education and employment and an inclusive system of governance by Taliban rulers of Afghanistan will pave the way for their recognition by the international community.

Speaking at the fourth round of Pak-Afghan religious scholars dialogue, organised by the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) in the federal capital on Thursday, the UN mission head said though Taliban have allowed Afghan women to work in some public offices related to passport, immigration, healthcare and agriculture, these concessions have been overshadowed by the ban on the remaining women’s access to employment and girls’ education beyond grade six.

He said the UNAMA is also engaging with all Afghans to help them achieve a broad-based governance system that includes everybody.

In his interaction with participating religious scholars from the two countries, Mr Ceesay said: “Islam never says that women should not go to school, and Islam never says that women should not go to work. Which (version of) Islam and which holy Quran says that? It’s not found in there,” he said.

He urged the Taliban rulers to attend a conference on Afghanistan later this month, stating that it would help return the much-needed global attention to the crisis-ridden Afghanistan, as Ukraine and Gaza wars had dramatically shifted the international attention from Afghanistan and that’s a concern for the United Nations. “We don’t want Afghanistan to be forgotten,” he said. “We are hopeful that this time around, the Islamic Emirate will send its representatives (to Doha) to be able to engage with the international community in a constructive and effective manner,” the UN diplomat said.

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2024

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