Taliban to hold major meeting with representatives
Thousands of religious scholars
and ethnic leaders from across Afghanistan will gather this week
to discuss key issues for the first time since the Taliban took
power last year, as the group faced calls to ensure the meeting
"Very soon a great gathering will be held in Kabul," Taliban
administration spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said, adding that
religious scholars and ethnic leaders from all provinces would
participate in the meeting which clerics had called for.
The meeting will start on Wednesday in the capital Kabul and
run for three days, a source with knowledge of the matter said,
adding that 3,000 people would attend, there was no set agenda,
and participants would raise the issues they wanted to discuss.
It was not immediately clear whether the closure of high
schools for girls would be discussed, or whether women would
take part in the gathering.
Three civil society groups held a news conference in Kabul
on Tuesday, saying they supported the idea of a gathering, but
that civil society members and women needed to be included.
"Any decision about the people of Afghanistan, especially
women, in the absence of women, will be an injustice," they
Since taking over in August, the Taliban have placed more
restrictions on women, including rules requiring them to cover
their faces and to take male chaperones when travelling.
Key ministerial roles in the all-male government are held on
an acting basis by Taliban members and the group has ruled out
Foreign governments have not formally recognised the Taliban
Many Western officials say it needs to change course on
women's rights and deliver an inclusive government to receive
recognition and for the international community to unwind
sanctions that are severely hampering the economy.