Kabul fell back on promises about girls’ schooling: Blinken

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The US Secretary of State of State Antony Blinken said the Islamic Emirate fell back on its promises to allow girls beyond grade six have access to schools in Afghanistan.

He made the remarks while testifying before a US Senate committee.

“We have seen, including most recently, the Taliban fall back on its commitment that it had made to ensure that girls can go to school above the six grade,” he said.

While asked by Senator Lindsey Graham about the presence of Daesh and al-Qaeda groups in Afghanistan, Blinken said that there is a very small number of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

“ISIS-K is as you know is of course an enemy of the Taliban and the issue there is not the will of the Taliban to take them on, it is their capacity. When it comes to the al-Qaeda, the Arab al-Qaeda core, there are a very, very small number of people,” he said.

Shahla Arifi, an Afghan female rights activist, said that the Afghan women and girls have been deprived of their rights.

“The women and girls of Afghanistan are the future makers of the country and have not been provided with educational, social and political rights,” she said.

Earlier the US special envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West, in phone call with the former President Hamid Karzai voiced concerns over the existing restrictions on girls’ access to education and called on the current Afghan government to “heed calls of Afghan religious leaders and elders from across the country to see the ban reversed.”

“In Afghanistan, the Taliban’s takeover precipitated a humanitarian crisis, and has resulted in serious erosion of human rights, from arbitrary detentions of women, protesters, and journalists, to reprisals against security forces for the former government, to growing restrictions on where women and girls can study or work,” he said.

But the Islamic Emirate denied claims of the violation of human rights.

This comes as Human Rights Watch also claimed there has been a surge in human rights violations in Afghanistan.

“Human Rights Watch works on the human rights situation in about 100 countries around the world and at the moment we see Afghanistan as a very urgent priority. The human rights situation in Afghanistan is deeply worrying,” said Heather Barr, associate director of the Women’s Rights Division at Human Rights Watch.

“We call on the international community to resolve these problems. We call on the Islamic Emirate to consider the women’s situation, as they make up half of Afghan society,” said Gulalai Akbar, formerly a member of the previous government’s upper house of the Parliament.

However, the Islamic Emirate said that violations of human rights have decreased since it came into power in Afghanistan.

“The rights of all Afghans are ensured now. The Islamic Emirate is committed to ensuring the rights of all citizens under an Islamic structure including men and women and any other aspect,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.

This comes as the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) instructed its citizens against all travel to Afghanistan. “You should not travel to Afghanistan. The security situation in Afghanistan remains extremely volatile,” the FCDO said.—Tolonews