Don’t forget us, Afghan women tell Hina Rabbani Khar

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KABUL: During her visit to Kabul on Tuesday to discuss relations with the Taliban rulers, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar, was urged by a prominent Afghan women’s group to keep their plight in mind.

The Taliban imposed new restrictions on Afghan women, barring them from parks, fun fairs, gyms, and public baths, just weeks before Khar, Islamabad’s first woman foreign minister in 2011, made the trip.

Friday, the United Nations special rapporteur on Afghanistan’s human rights said that Taliban restrictions on women and girls could be a “crime against humanity.”

In an open letter to Khar, the Afghan Women’s Network, which represents a number of activist groups, said, “You serve as an example of the status of women in our neighboring country.”

“We call on you to use your visit to support the women of Afghanistan and strengthen our solidarity not only as a minister but also as a woman and Muslim woman leader.”

The minister also met with a Women’s Chamber of Commerce delegation, where she expressed keen interest in strengthening connections between Pakistani and Afghan entrepreneurs.
The Taliban government is not recognized by any nation, and it is uncommon for high-profile women or foreign diplomats to visit.

Khar is in Kabul leading a high-ranking Pakistani delegation on a daylong visit to meet with Afghan government officials. Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) ended a months-long ceasefire with Pakistan, prompting bilateral talks.

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