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Antonio Guterres slams ‘broken’ Taliban promises made to women

NEW YORK: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has slammed the Taliban’s “broken” promises to Afghan women and girls, and urged the world to inject cash into Afghanistan in order to prevent its economic collapse.

“I am particularly alarmed to see promises made to Afghan women and girls by the Taliban being broken,” he told reporters on Monday in New York.

“I strongly appeal to the Taliban to keep their promises to women and girls and fulfil their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law.”

Millions of teenage girls across Afghanistan still await to return to school, while the Taliban allowed boys to attend classes last month. The move has raised concerns about the future of female education under the Taliban, who have pledged to uphold the rights of girls and women in the country when they took over power in August.

The exclusion of girls at this time has aggravated fears that the Taliban could be returning to their hardline rule of the 1990s. During that time, women and girls were legally barred from education and employment.

Guterres said he is “alarmed” to see promises “be broken”, adding that gender equality is a priority for him.

“Broken promises leads to broken dreams for the women and girls of Afghanistan,” the UN chief said. “Women and girls need to be in the centre of attention,” he added.

In his address, Guterres also urged the international community to “inject liquidity into the Afghan economy to avoid collapse”.

“We need to find ways to help the economy breathe again … And this can be done without violating international laws,” he said.