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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Taliban announce male-dominated cabinet

As Taliban announce male-dominated cabinet, questions are raised if the new reality in Afghanistan will be the remake of their old one? What it seems after the press conference by Zabihullah Mujahid, that the Taliban have doubled down their all-male team and delayed the inclusion on ethnic minorities.

As Taliban announce male-dominated cabinet on Tuesday through a press conference, their decision has strained the prospects of international cooperation as the world saw them moving away from their words. When the Taliban took control of Kabul in a swift and lightening manner on Aug 15, they made considerable pledges to safeguard women rights and fundamental inalienable rights. However, their recent crackdown on women’s protests and detaining Afghan journalist severely for covering these demonstrations have raised questions on the credibility of their words.

As Taliban announce male-dominated cabinet through Zabihullah Mujahid’s press conference, they expanded their interim Cabinet by naming deputy ministers Tuesday, but failed to appoint any women, doubling down on a hard-line course despite the international outcry that followed their initial presentation of an all-male Cabinet lineup earlier this month.

The international community has warned that it will judge the Taliban by their actions, and that recognition of a Taliban-led government would be linked to the treatment of women and minorities. However, as Taliban announce male-dominated cabinet, it is pertinent that a tough trajectory lies ahead of them. In their previous rule of Afghanistan in the late 1990s, the Taliban had barred girls and women from schools, work and public life. Will the new Taliban rule be a remake of the old one?

Read more: Accepting the Taliban’s new rule in Afghanistan

Taliban announce male-dominated cabinet and call for international recognition

Taliban government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid defended the latest additions to the Cabinet at a news conference Tuesday, saying it included members of ethnic minorities, such as the Hazaras, and that women might be added later. This testifies their adherence towards an inclusive Afghan government but still a lot depends on how long they stand true to their words.

Mujahid bristled at international conditions for recognition, saying there was no reason for withholding it. “It is the responsibility of the United Nations to recognize our government (and) for other countries, including European, Asian and Islamic countries, to have diplomatic relations with us,” he said.

The Taliban have framed their current Cabinet as an interim government, suggesting that change was still possible, but they have not said if there would ever be elections.

Decision not to allow girls to go to school is temporary

Mujahid was also asked about the recent restrictions imposed on girls and women, including a decision not to allow girls in grades six to 12 to return to classrooms for the time being.

Mujahid suggested this was a temporary decision, and that “soon it will be announced when they can go to school.” He said plans were being made to allow for their return, but did not elaborate.

Boys in grades six to 12 resumed their studies over the weekend.

As Taliban announce male-dominated cabinet, a lot of clarity is awaited on whether the final political framework will be inclusive or Pashtun dominated, whether the new Afghan Taliban government will get international recognition and the extent to which essential freedoms will be released for women.

Read more: Afghan women outraged by new Taliban restrictions on work