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All languages and sectors of society represented in government, says IEA

(Last Updated On: July 5, 2023)

The UN in Afghanistan’s deputy special representative Markus Potzel says in his opinion if the Islamic Emirate reverse bans on women and allow them to return to school, university and work, then Afghanistan “would be integrated into the international community once again.”

Speaking to UN News, Potzel said: “I think that the de facto authorities in Afghanistan should let girls go to school beyond grade six. They should let girls go to university. They should let women work for international NGOs, for national NGOs, and for UN organizations. And they should let women participate in social life.

“If this happens, I can imagine that Afghanistan would be integrated into the international community again, and international donors would also rethink and probably reinforce engagement with Afghanistan. Afghanistan needs international help. And we, as the UN, want to help them help themselves.”

He said currently UNAMA is a “bridge” between an isolated Islamic Emirate and the rest of the world.

He said however that “there is no middle ground” on the issue of women and girls’ education and that broader human rights and the decrees banning women’s participation in society “should be reversed as soon as possible”.

According to him, Afghanistan is still the world’s largest producer of opium, although recent field reports suggest that there has been a decline in poppy cultivation. UNAMA, he said, is addressing the issue with the IEA to find some common ground to fight drug abuse and drug trafficking and provide the means for alternative livelihoods.

Potzel also discussed the security issue and said Daesh was UNAMA’s biggest threat in the country but went on to say circumstances for the UN are getting more difficult because Afghan women now are not allowed to work for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), nor are they allowed to work for the UN.

“This really complicates things because we rely heavily on women in our work. Without women, it’s very hard … to keep the aid organizations running. We need women to reach out to women.

“There are tens of thousands of women-led households in this country because a lot of men in families have lost their lives in war. And without women, NGOs and UN organizations are not able to function properly [so] fewer people get access to aid,” he said.