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U.S. Afghan Envoy Urges Taliban To Ensure Women's Rights In 'All Aspects Of Society'


The U.S. special representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West (file photo)

The U.S. special representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West, has welcomed a Taliban decree calling for the enforcement of certain women's rights, but said much more is needed to protect their rights "in every aspect of Afghan society."

The decree was issued on December 3 amid deep concerns among Western governments, the United Nations, and human rights groups about rights abuses after the Taliban seized power in August.

The militants are being pressed to set up an inclusive government and protect the rights of all Afghans, including minorities and women.

"Welcome today's decree reinforcing a woman's right to determine if & whom she marries,” West tweeted.

"At the same time, much more is needed to ensure women's rights in every aspect of Afghan society including schools, workplaces, politics and media," he wrote.

The Taliban decree calls for the enforcement of a number of women's rights on marriage and widow's rights that are already enshrined in Shari'a law, but it fails to mention key areas of concern for rights groups and Western governments, such as education and work.

The vast majority of Afghan women have been banned from working and many girls have been deprived of the right to an education since the Taliban seized power.

Last month, the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice issued a set of "religious guidelines" that imposed new restriction on life under the Taliban.

Among other things, the ministry ordered Afghanistan's television channels to stop showing dramas featuring women actors and said female television journalists must wear the Islamic hijab.

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