Sirajuddin Haqqani, Afghanistan’s appearing inside minister and the Taliban’s co-deputy chief since 2016, made the feedback in an unique, first on-camera interview exhibiting his face with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in Kabul.
In March after many guarantees that ladies would have the ability to attend secondary faculty, the Taliban reversed their choice, suspending the return indefinitely.
When requested about Afghan girls who say they’re afraid to go away their properties underneath Taliban rule, and those that have reported a chilling impact of the militant group’s management, Haqqani added with amusing: “We maintain naughty girls at house.”
After being pressed to make clear his remark by Amanpour, he mentioned: “By saying naughty girls, it was a joke referring to these naughty girls who’re managed by another sides to carry the present authorities into query.”
Haqqani additionally set out some parameters for the way forward for girls and work, which might be restricted by the Taliban’s interpretation of Islamic legislation and “nationwide, cultural and conventional rules.”
“They’re allowed to work inside their very own framework,” he instructed Amanpour.
The Taliban minister was talking in his first on-camera interview with a Western media outlet in years, simply months after exhibiting his face in public for the primary time. The high-ranking and intensely secretive official is needed by the FBI and has been categorised by the US State Division as a “specifically designated international terrorist.” He has a $10 million bounty on his head.
His feedback on ladies’ schooling and the rights of ladies punctuated a sequence of claims that “there isn’t any one against (ladies’) schooling” within the Afghan authorities.
“Already ladies are allowed to go to high school as much as grade 6, and above that grade, the work is constant on a mechanism,” Haqqani mentioned. “Very quickly, you’ll hear excellent information about this concern, God prepared,” he added, with out specifying a timeframe.
Afterwards, Haqqani’s aides mentioned the interview was an effort to open a brand new chapter in relations with the US and the world.
However the Taliban have repeatedly made assurances to the worldwide group that it’s going to shield the rights of ladies and ladies since seizing Afghanistan final August, whereas concurrently stripping away a lot of their freedoms and protections.
Many school-age women and girls have already misplaced hope. “Their complete authorities [is] towards ladies’ schooling,” 19-year-old Maryam instructed CNN on Tuesday. “I do not consider that the Taliban fulfil their guarantees … they do not perceive our emotions.”
“Step-by-step they’re taking all our freedoms,” added Fatima, 17. “The Taliban now and the Taliban of the 90s are the identical — I do not see any change on their coverage and guidelines.
“Our solely hope is the worldwide group brings excessive stress on the Taliban to permit ladies to go to high school. Nothing else [will] work.”
Maryam and Fatima, like the opposite girls CNN spoke to, didn’t present their final names because of issues about their safety.
Haqqani’s feedback will possible do little to encourage observers that the Taliban are severe about their commitments. “Everybody from the Taliban management has zero credibility on this concern,” Heather Barr, affiliate director of the Girls’s Rights Division at worldwide watchdog Human Rights Watch, instructed CNN.
“They’ve made representations about their supposed respect for girls and ladies,” since taking energy, Barr added. “On daily basis after that there was a brand new crackdown on girls, and that is continued to accentuate over time.”
The G7 international ministers and the Excessive Consultant of the European Union final week expressed their “strongest opposition” towards the rising restrictions imposed by the Taliban on girls’s and ladies’ rights. Haqqani instructed CNN the worldwide group’s “judgements, analysis, and choice making are all one-sided,” including: “We’re nonetheless on the preliminary part. It has barely been eight months since we took over the federal government … we’re but to carry the state of affairs again to regular.”
When pressed by Amanpour on whether or not all girls must cowl their faces, Haqqani responded: “We aren’t forcing girls to put on [the] hijab, however we’re advising them and preaching to them every now and then … [the] hijab isn’t obligatory however it’s an Islamic order that everybody ought to implement.”
On the streets of Kabul, the rising isolation of ladies from society has left many in financial peril. “I’ve to work,” a girl named Khotima instructed CNN. “They need to allow us to work as a result of we’ve to develop into the lads of the household so we will discover bread for the kids.”
“When you do not have cash, when you do not have [a] job, you do not have revenue, would you have the ability to eat correct meals when there isn’t any work?” added one other lady named Farishta.
US not ‘presently’ enemy, Haqqani says
Haqqani was talking with CNN two months after the Taliban launched uncommon images of the minister at a ceremony for cops. Previous to that, he had hardly ever been seen in public; his FBI “Most Needed” poster options solely a grainy image exhibiting a part of his face.
Haqqani instructed CNN that “Sooner or later, we want to have good relations with the US and the worldwide group,” including: “presently we don’t take a look at them as enemies.”
However he made repeated assurances about girls’s rights and schooling for women that had been at odds with the observations of worldwide watchdogs and governments.
“The worldwide group is elevating the difficulty of ladies’s rights rather a lot. Right here in Afghanistan, there are Islamic, nationwide, cultural, and conventional rules,” he mentioned. “Inside the limits of these rules, we’re working to offer them with alternatives to work and that’s our aim.”
Afghan ladies above grade 6 had been due to return to high school in March for the primary time because the Taliban’s takeover, however had been instructed to remain house till an acceptable faculty uniform in line with Sharia and Afghan customs and tradition is designed, the Taliban-run Bakhtar Information Company reported on the time.
Haqqani instructed CNN the delay was essential whereas leaders design the “mechanism” by which ladies can return to schooling. “There have been some shortcomings throughout the preparations that had been ongoing. Work is ongoing on these points,” he mentioned.
However consultants expressed skepticism that their motives are completely different than was the case between 1996 and 2001, when the primary Taliban regime barred ladies from finding out.
“They all the time mentioned the circumstances aren’t proper now, [but they would] determine it out,” Barr mentioned. “In these 5 years, that second by no means got here. So very clearly to girls and ladies, that was all the time a lie, and that is the way it feels this time as effectively.”
Haqqani was additionally questioned on the standing of Mark Frerichs, a US veteran and contractor who was kidnapped in Kabul in late January 2020 and is believed to be held by the Haqqani community.
A proof of life video, apparently filmed in November 2021, emerged in April, by which Frerichs mentioned: “I would wish to ask the management of the Islamic Emirate of fghanistan, please, launch me. Launch me in order that I could also be reunited with my household.”
Haqqani instructed CNN: “That’s what they suppose, that he’s with us … There is no such thing as a impediment from the Emirate facet for his launch. If the US accepts the Islamic Emirate’s circumstances, the difficulty of his launch could possibly be solved in a day.
“In regards to the assumptions that he may be with us, I wish to say that we’re a part of the Islamic Emirate, we’re dedicated to obey the orders of Amirul Momineen, the Supreme Chief,” he added. “Efforts are ongoing on the authorities degree, and a group is designated for negotiations with them.”
When reached for remark, a US State Division spokesperson instructed CNN: “The secure and rapid launch of US citizen and Navy veteran Mark Frerichs is crucial. Now we have made that clear to the Taliban and known as on them to launch him instantly in virtually each dialog over the previous two years.”
CNN’s Jack Man and Madalena Araujo contributed to this text.