Afghan foreign minister appeals for good relations, seeks more time for girls’ education
The current administration has faced repeated criticism for its attitude to girls' education, which is one of the few indisputably good outcomes of the West's two-decade engagement in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan's foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi appealed to the international community for good ties but avoided making specific pledges on girls' education, despite international pressure to enable all Afghan children to return to school. Almost two months after the former Western-backed government collapsed and insurgent forces swept into Kabul, the new Taliban administration has pushed to strengthen ties with other countries to avert a devastating economic crisis.
"The international community must begin collaborating with us," acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi made the remarks at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies' Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies event. "With this, we will be able to end insecurity while still engaging constructively with the rest of the world," he added. However, the Taliban have so far refused to budge on allowing females to return to high school, one of the international community's significant demands following a decision last month that schools above the sixth grade would only reopen for boys.
Muttaqi claimed that the Taliban's Islamic Emirate government was moving slowly, but that they had only been in power for a few weeks and could not be expected to implement reforms that the Western system had failed to do during the preceding 20 years. "They had a lot of financial resources and significant international backing and support, but you're expecting us to implement all of the reforms in two months?" he said. The current administration has faced repeated criticism for its attitude to girls' education, which is one of the few indisputably good outcomes of the West's two-decade engagement in Afghanistan.
The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said the Taliban had broken promises about ensuring women's and girls' rights. There was no way to fix the economy if women were barred from working. Muttaqi reiterated demands for the US to ease a freeze on more than $9 billion in Afghan central bank reserves kept outside the country but said the government would generate money through taxes, customs duties, and agriculture if the funds remained frozen.