Norwegian official calls for girls’ access to education


The head of the Norwegian Refugee Council speak-ing to reporters stressed the need for girls’ access to education in Afghanistan after his meeting with the delegation of the Islamic Emirate, which was in Oslo, Norway for a three-day series of talks.

“The Taliban has not followed up on their promise that there also be secondary education for girls, this is… a red line for us. If we cannot educate girls, we cannot educate boys,” said Jan Egeland, secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

The delegation of the Islamic Emirate was led by acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi. The delegation held talks with the envoys of the Euro-pean Union, officials from the US and other Euro-pean countries as well as several international aid organizations including the meeting with the Nor-wegian Refugee Council’s chief.

The first day of the three-day talks was an intra-Afghan dialogue between the Islamic Emirate dele-gation and Afghan civil society members including seven women’s rights activitsts, six politicians and a high-profile journalist.

The Islamic Emirate said that it has fulfilled all the promises it pledged to the international community.

“The delegation of the Islamic Emirate gave clear and strong responses which were acceptable for them (the participants). The Islamic Emirate talks from a strong position there (Oslo),” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.

In the meeting with the Islamic Emirate delegation, Jan Egeland, Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said Wednesday on Twitter: “We brought up all the challenges we face in Afghani-stan.”

“In our humanitarian talks with Taliban leaders in Oslo, they confirmed that education for girls on all levels will, at long last, resume this spring/March. We need to continue raising this in Kabul and in provinces to make it a reality,” said Jan Jan Ege-land, Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

A participant at the intra-Afghan dialogue said that the Islamic Emirate’s delegation promised to allow girl’s access to education. “They (Islamic Emirate delegation) said that they have nothing to do with women’s rights to work and education and that all Afghans will have their rights,” she said. “The Oslo conference provided an opportunity, and reflected that as much as the Taliban are accepted as a reality in Afghanistan, the Afghan women and human rights are also the reality which the Taliban should accept,” said Shukria Barakzai, former diplomat.—Agencies


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