The US Special Representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West, on Friday said he welcomes the decree of Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, the supreme leader of the Taliban, on women’s rights.
On Friday, Hibatullah Akhundzada issued a six-article decree regarding women’s rights saying that women must consent to marriage, and forced marriage must stop. The decree also stipulated that the relevant institutions must take steps in its implementation.
“Welcome today’s decree reinforcing a woman’s right to determine if and whom she marries,” West said.
West also said that in addition to women's rights over marriage choices, much more is needed to be done to ensure women’s full participation in the social and political life of Afghanistan.
“At the same, much more is needed to ensure women’s rights in every aspect of Afghan society including schools, workplaces, politics and media,” West said in a tweet.
The new decree on women rights comes as the international community has repeatedly called on the Islamic Emirate to preserve the last 20 year’s achievements, especially women’s and girls’ rights for work and education.
Women’s and girls’ rights have been set as a condition by the international community for the recognition of the Islamic Emirate government.
Meanwhile, a number of Afghan female activists also welcomed the Taliban leader’s move, describing it as a major step, but called for further actions regarding women rights.
"This is big, this is huge ... if it is done as it is supposed to be, this is the first time they have come up with a decree like this," said Mahbouba Seraj, an activist and the executive director of the Afghan Women's Skills Development Center, speaking from Kabul on a Reuters Next conference panel on Friday.
The former Afghan ambassador to the United States, Roya Rahmani, also said it was an amazing step. “An amazing thing if it does get implemented,” Rahmani told Reuters Next panel.
The activists said that more needs to be done regarding women’s rights to education and work.