By RFE/RL’s Radio Azadi
January 11, 2023
The intergovernmental Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) executive committee is gathering for an emergency meeting in the Saudi port city of Jeddah to discuss recent developments in Afghanistan and the humanitarian situation there under the Taliban-led government.
The OIC, which aims on behalf of its 57 members to be the collective voice of the Muslim world, tweeted out news of the emergency meeting a day earlier.
Authorities under the unrecognized Taliban-led government that took control of Afghanistan in mid-2021 on December 20 ordered public and private universities to close their doors to women immediately until further notice.
A few days later officials ordered all domestic and international NGOs to prevent female employees from working at their jobs.
The bans are the latest measures rolling back women’s rights and triggered widespread international condemnation and efforts by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) to reverse them.
UNAMA warned after its representatives met with the Taliban’s minister of higher education, Nida Mohammad Nadim, on January 7 that Afghanistan was entering a new period of crisis that “will harm all Afghans.”
Markus Potzel, the deputy head of the UN aid office in Kabul, emerged from the meeting urging the Taliban to immediately lift the bans.
Nadim has said the mixing of genders in universities must be prevented because it risks violating Islamic principles.
The OIC and another influential Islamic organization, the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA), have described the bans as contrary to the purposes of Islamic law and the consensus of the ummah.
The Taliban swept to power in August 2021 after capturing most of the country as U.S.-led international troops withdrew after two decades of war and the UN-backed Afghan president and government fled the capital, Kabul.
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