UN: Taliban Restrictions on Women Block Afghanistan’s Reintegration; Over 620,000 Afghans Deported from Pakistan

The United Nations warned Friday that the Taliban’s continued suppression of women’s rights is a critical barrier to Afghanistan’s reintegration into the global community. UN officials also raised concerns over Pakistan’s ongoing deportation of hundreds of thousands of Afghans, exceeding 620,000 since the crackdown began last year.

More details in the following report:

The United Nations warned Friday that continued restrictions on women’s rights in Afghanistan are a major obstacle to the country’s reintegration into the international community, Arab News reported yesterday.

UN Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan, Roza Otunbayeva, told the Security Council that the Taliban’s “gender apartheid” policies are depriving the country of vital human capital and undermining its future.

“These restrictions are deeply unpopular and weaken the Taliban’s claims to legitimacy,” Otunbayeva said.  She added that engaging with the Taliban in upcoming talks in Doha “is not legitimization” but a necessary step towards finding a diplomatic solution.

The third round of talks, scheduled for June 30th and July 1st, will include the Taliban for the first time. However, Afghan civil society representatives, particularly women, will be excluded. Otunbayeva acknowledged this as “disappointing” but said they will have a separate meeting on July 2nd.

Naseer Ahmad Faiq, Afghanistan’s UN ambassador representing the pre-Taliban government, expressed concern that the Doha agenda lacks discussions on human rights and the political process.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s continued deportation drive has displaced hundreds of thousands of Afghans.

The situation in Afghanistan is further complicated by Pakistan’s ongoing deportation of undocumented Afghans. Radio Pakistan reported on Saturday that over 13,000 Afghans were expelled in the last ten days, bringing the total number deported since the drive began last year to over 620,000.

Pakistan launched the deportation drive in response to a rise in terrorist attacks, which they blame on Afghan nationals. Islamabad also claims undocumented Afghans strain their resources. The move has been criticized as discriminatory and has created tensions with the Taliban government.

The deportation drive is a multi-phased operation. Phase one targeted those entirely lacking documentation. Phase two aims to expel Afghans holding Pakistan-issued Afghan Citizenship Cards (ACCs), considered invalid. The fate of those with UNHCR Proof of Registration (PoR) cards remains unclear, though a recent extension provides temporary reprieve. Previously, Afghans freely crossed the border for business and personal reasons.  The deportation drive has disrupted these ties and added to the overall instability in the region.

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