Turkey expressed concern Wednesday over recently reported disappearances of Afghan woman activists.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in a phone call with Amir Khan Muttaqi, the acting foreign minister of Afghanistan’s interim Taliban government, said that Turkey is concerned about reportings of disappearances while he also reiterated that the education of girls is vital.
Çavuşoğlu said that a well-attended administration is necessary for stability and peace in Afghanistan. The two further discussed the reopening of Maarif schools in Afghanistan.
When the Taliban first ruled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001, they became notorious for human rights abuses, with women mostly confined to their homes.
Now back in government and despite promising softer rule, they are cracking down on women’s freedoms once again.
There is enforced segregation in most workplaces, leading many employers to fire women staff, and women are barred from key public sector jobs.
Haunted by memories of the last Taliban regime, some Afghan women are too frightened to venture out or are pressured by their families to remain at home.
Interim Taliban government spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid denied any women being held but said authorities had the right “to arrest and detain dissidents or those who break the law” after the government banned unsanctioned protests soon after coming to power.
The United Nations and Human Rights Watch are among those calling on the Taliban to investigate disappearances.
The U.N. human rights office called on Tuesday to release four women activists and their relatives in Afghanistan who were detained or abducted last month after protests over women’s rights since the Taliban seized control.
Muttaqi and Çavuşoğlu also discussed the latest situation in operating Afghanistan’s airports by a Turkey-Qatar joint company.
After the Taliban seized control of the country, Turkey offered technical and security assistance to operationalize Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport. Keeping the airport open after foreign forces handed over control is vital to keeping Afghanistan connected with the world and maintaining an uninterrupted supply of aid for distribution.
Turkey and Qatar aim to run the airports in Kabul, Mazar-I Sharif, Kandahar and Herat.