US Cancels Doha Talks with Taliban Over Girls Schools Closure

The United States has canceled planned talks with the Taliban officials in Qatar after the Taliban so-called regime reversed a decision to allow girls to attend high school across Afghanistan.

A US State Department official told Reuters on Friday that the talks set for the weekend in Doha, the capital of Qatar, concerning the Afghan central bank, the printing of Afghani currency bank notes and hundreds of millions of dollars in a World Bank trust fund for the country’s education sector.

The Taliban’s decision to continue barring girls from education “was a deeply disappointing and inexplicable reversal of commitments to the Afghan people, first and foremost, and also to the international community,” the official said.

“We have canceled some of our engagements, and made it clear that we see this decision as a potential turning point in our engagements,” the official said.

On March 21, Taliban had promised to reopen all schools in Afghanistan for girls, but they reversed the decision hours after girls attended schools, announcing that girl’s secondary schools were to remain closed until further notice.

The US official said that if Taliban did not swiftly reverse the decision, it will profoundly harm the Afghan people, and the Taliban’s ambition to improve relations with the international community   

US Special Envoy to Afghanistan Tom West in a tweet on Wednesday said that he joined “millions of Afghan families today in expressing shock and deep disappointment with the Taliban’s decision to not allow women and girls to return to school above grade 6.”

“Education is a fundamental right of all human beings and is essential to Afghanistan’s economic growth and stability. This is a betrayal of public commitments to the Afghan people and the international community,” West furthered.

Human Rights Watch in a statement said that the reversal is “cruel, and feels provocative,” coming days before a March 31 international donor conference that aims to raise US$4.4 billion to help alleviate the desperate humanitarian crisis gripping Afghanistan.

“The consequences have been devastating; the economy can’t function, people cannot work, and most families are struggling to feed themselves,” the statement added.

The statement said that Afghanistan desperately needs girls and women to be educated to steer Afghanistan toward the path of progress. “The Taliban should immediately reopen all girls’ secondary schools and end their many violations of women’s and girls’ rights,” the watchdog added.

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