Qatar calls Afghanistan abuses 'disappointing'

AFP , Thursday 30 Sep 2021

Qatar's top diplomat on Thursday labelled a recent string of rights abuses in Afghanistan "disappointing" and called on the Taliban leadership to look to Doha for how to run an Islamic system.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. AP
File Photo: Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. AP

The Taliban publicly strung up four alleged kidnappers from cranes in Herat last week and older girls are still unable to resume their studies after weeks.

"The recent actions that we have seen unfortunately in Afghanistan, it has been very disappointing to see some steps being taken backward," Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said at a media briefing in Doha.

Doha has become a key broker in Afghanistan following last month's withdrawal of US forces, helping to evacuate thousands of foreigners and Afghans, engaging the new Taliban rulers and supporting operations at Kabul airport.

"We need to keep engaging them and urging them not to take such actions, and we have also been trying to demonstrate for the Taliban how Muslim countries can conduct their laws, how they can deal with the women's issues," said Sheikh Mohammed.

"One of the examples is the State of Qatar which is a Muslim country; our system is an Islamic system (but) we have women outnumbering men in workforces in government and in higher education."

The display of the dead kidnapping suspects, who were killed in a shootout, was the most high-profile public punishment since the Taliban swept to power last month.

It has been seen as a sign the Islamist hardliners will adopt fearsome measures similar to their previous rule from 1996 to 2001.

It has been almost two weeks since girls were prevented from going to secondary school with isolated rallies led by women breaking out across Afghanistan in recent days.

Sheikh Mohammed called on the Taliban to "maintain and preserve the gains made in past years" but warned the international community not to isolate Afghanistan.

The Taliban follow a strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law that segregates men and women, and have also slashed women's access to work.

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