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Afghanistan: Taliban fail to appoint any women in final list of government ministers

Afghanistan: Taliban fail to appoint any women in final list of government ministers

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The Taliban have announced a list of deputy ministers which excludes the names of any women, despite an international outcry when they announced their all-male cabinet earlier this month.

The newly appointed all-male government signals the Taliban have not been swayed by international criticism and that they are sticking to their current hardline path despite initial promises of inclusivity and upholding women’s rights.

The list was presented by government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid at a news conference in the Afghanistan capital, Kabul.

The international community has warned that it will judge the Taliban by their actions, and that recognition of a Taliban-led government would be linked to the treatment of women and minorities.

In response to questions, Mr Mujahid defended the expanded cabinet line-up, saying it included members of ethnic minorities such as Hazaras, and that women might be added later.

He said: “It is the responsibility of the United Nations to recognise our government (and) for other countries, including European, Asian and Islamic countries, to have diplomatic relations with us.”

In their previous rule of Afghanistan in the late 1990s, the Taliban had barred women and girls from schools, work and public life.

The Taliban have framed their current cabinet as an interim government, suggesting that change is still possible, but there has been no mention of elections.

The spokesman on Tuesday was also asked about the recent restrictions imposed on girls and women, including a decision not to allow girls in grades six to 12 to return to classrooms.

Mr Mujahid suggested this was a temporary move, and that there would be an announcement “soon” on when they can return to school.

It comes as schools across Afghanistan reopened for boys in grades six to 12 from Saturday.

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