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UN Security Council to discuss IEA ordering women to cover faces

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The United Nations Security Council will meet on Thursday to discuss an order by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) for women to cover their faces in public.

UN special envoy for Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, is due to brief the 15-member council, said Norway’s UN mission, which requested the closed-door meeting “to address the increased restrictions on human rights and freedoms of girls and women.”

Under the IEA’s previous rule from 1996 to 2001, women had to cover up, could not work, and girls were banned from school. But after seizing power in August, they vowed to respect women’s rights, Reuters reported.

However in March, the IEA backtracked on their announcement that high schools would open for girls, saying they would remain closed until a plan was drawn up in accordance with Islamic law for them to reopen.

Then on Saturday the IEA’s supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, said that if a woman did not cover her face outside home, her father or closest male relative would be visited and face potential prison or firing from state jobs.

Most women in Afghanistan wear a headscarf for religious reasons but many in urban areas such as Kabul do not cover their faces.

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Iran’s new president says strengthening ties with neighbors is his priority

“Under my administration, we will prioritize strengthening relations with our neighbors. We will champion the establishment of a “strong region” rather than one where a single country pursues hegemony and dominance over the others,” said Pezeshkian.

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Iran’s new president Masoud Pezeshkian has said in an article entitled “My message to the new world” that he prioritizes relations with neighboring countries and will support the establishment of a strong region.

“Under my administration, we will prioritize strengthening relations with our neighbors. We will champion the establishment of a “strong region” rather than one where a single country pursues hegemony and dominance over the others. I firmly believe that neighboring and brotherly nations should not waste their valuable resources on erosive competitions, arms races, or the unwarranted containment of each other. Instead, we will aim to create an environment where our resources can be devoted to the progress and development of the region for the benefit of all,” Pezeshkian said in the article published on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Emirate also emphasizes expanding good relations with Iran and asks that the country’s new government should further strengthen its political and economic ties with Afghanistan.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan also emphasizes relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. We ask the new government of Iran to work on strengthening the diplomatic and economic relations between the two countries,” said Hamdullah Fitrat, deputy spokesman for the IEA.

Some experts, however, believe that Iran seeks to restore its relations with some countries, especially Arab countries.

According to them, Iran plays an important role in regional issues and expanding relations between Kabul and Tehran can benefit both sides.

Iran’s new president also stressed that he intends to pursue an opportunistic policy that is consistent with national interests, economic development, and the need of peace and security in the region and the world by balancing relations with all countries.

 

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Al-Qaeda cells operating in multiple Afghan provinces: UN

The report said that Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) remains the largest terrorist group in Afghanistan, with an estimated strength of 6,000–6,500 fighters

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Al-Qaeda cells are operating in multiple provinces of Afghanistan, mainly in south-east of the country, UN sanctions monitors said in a new report.

The report by the UN Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team said that despite a reduced profile, Al-Qaeda disseminates propaganda to increase recruitment while working to rebuild its operational capability.

“Several Member States noted that facilities with Al-Qaida associations are mainly for training local fighters along with TTP operatives, with newly reported training base locations and safe houses in various Afghan provinces, including former camps in Jalalabad and in Kandahar Province, and in Kunar, Nuristan and Takhar Provinces,” the report said.

The report said that Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) remains the largest terrorist group in Afghanistan, with an estimated strength of 6,000–6,500 fighters

It added that the group continues to operate on a significant scale in Afghanistan and to conduct terrorist operations into Pakistan from there, often utilizing Afghans.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), however, rejects the report.

Hamdullah Fitrat, deputy spokesperson of IEA, emphasizes that no terrorist group is present in Afghanistan, and the Islamic Emirate will not allow anyone to use Afghanistan’s soil against other countries.

According to the UN report, member States credit IEA’s efforts to counter the threat from Daesh but question the IEA’s counter-terrorism capabilities and have concerns about continued Daesh recruitment and dispersal.

 

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More than 350,000 people sign petition asking IEA to respect human rights: Amnesty

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Amnesty International announced on Friday that 354,847 people worldwide have signed a petition asking the authorities of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to respect and guarantee protection of human rights.

“In a powerful show of global solidarity, 354,847 signatures have been collected calling on the Taliban de-facto authorities (IEA) to respect and protect human rights in Afghanistan,” Amnesty International South Asia said on X. “As the catastrophic human rights situation persists, we must continue our joint demand for accountability and justice in Afghanistan.”

International organizations have repeatedly expressed concern about restrictions on women and girls in Afghanistan.

However, the Islamic Emirate has said that it is committed to ensuring women’s rights in accordance with the Sharia law, insisting that is an internal issue of Afghanistan.

 

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