The interim mayor of Afghanistan’s capital says many female city employees have been ordered to stay home by the country’s new Taliban rulers.
Hamdullah Namony told reporters that only women who could not be replaced by men have been permitted to report to work.
He says this includes skilled workers in the design and engineering departments as well as female attendants of public toilets for women.
Mr Namony’s comments on Sunday were another sign that the Taliban are enforcing their harsh interpretation of Islam, including restrictions on women in public life, despite their initial promises of tolerance and inclusion.
In their previous rule in the 1990s, the Taliban had barred girls and women from schools and jobs.
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The mayor says a final decision about female employees in Kabul municipal departments is still pending, and that they would draw their salaries in the meantime.
He said before the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last month, just under one-third of close to 3000 city employees were women who worked in all departments.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s prime minister says he has “initiated a dialogue” with the Taliban to prod them to form an inclusive government that would ensure peace and stability not only in Afghanistan but also in the region.
Imran Khan tweeted on Saturday that he took the initiative after his meetings this week in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, with leaders of countries neighbouring Afghanistan.
The Taliban last week announced an all-male interim government that includes no women or members of Afghanistan’s minorities – contrary to their earlier pledges on inclusivity.
They have also since moved to curb women’s rights, harking back to their harsh rule when they were in power in the 1990s.
Mr Khan says he had detailed discussions with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon on the sidelines of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation’s meeting in Dushanbe.
The economic and security group is made up of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.
“After meetings in Dushanbe with leaders of Afghanistan’s neighbours and especially a lengthy discussion with Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon, I have initiated a dialogue with the Taliban for an inclusive Afghan govt to include Tajiks, Hazaras & Uzbeks” Khan said in the tweet.
“After 40 years of conflict, this inclusivity will ensure peace and a stable Afghanistan, which is in the interest not only of Afghanistan but the region as well.”
Khan did not say what form his dialogue would take or elaborate on his plans.