Qatar FM tells Taliban to respect women's rights, too early for government recognition

Qatar FM tells Taliban to respect women's rights, too early for government recognition
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani spoke after a meeting with the Taliban's prime minister and other senior officials on Sunday.
2 min read
13 September, 2021
The Qatari FM spoke at a Doha press conference with his French counterpart [Serdar Bitmez/Anadolu Agency/Getty]

Qatar's foreign minister said on Monday the Gulf state has urged Afghanistan's new Taliban rulers to respect women's rights and that it was still too early to consider recognising their government.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani was speaking in a joint press conference with French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Doha. Le Drian said dozens of French nationals are still in Afghanistan and Paris is working with Qatar to evacuate them.

"We have always urged the Taliban and the government, we reiterated that yesterday, that the Afghan people's gains must be protected including women's rights and their role in the development of Afghanistan," Sheikh Mohammed said.

During their previous 1996–2001 rule, the Taliban severely restricted women's rights, including banning them from education and work, and there are fears they may do so again following their return to power last month with the collapse of the Western-backed government and the withdrawal of foreign forces.

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Sheikh Mohammed met with the Taliban government's prime minister and other senior officials in Kabul on Sunday.

He said the Taliban had told Qatari officials they want to engage with the international community and for embassies, shuttered after it took over Kabul, to reopen.

The Qatari and French ministers said the international community is waiting for the hardline Islamist group to fulfil its promises and that it was too early to discuss recognition of the new government in Kabul.

Who's who of the Taliban
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"We believe keeping insisting on the issue of recognition right now is not going to be helpful for anyone. What we believe can be helpful and more constructive is to engage with them to make sure the commitments they have put forward will be implemented," Sheikh Mohammed said.

Qatar has considerable influence over the Taliban and played a pivotal role in the US-led airlift of its own citizens, other foreign nationals and Afghans who helped Western countries.

The capital Doha hosts the Taliban's political office, which oversaw the negotiations with the United States that eventually led to the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.