Afghanistan Crisis

Afghanistan: Former minister hopes for an 'inclusive government'

Published : September 01, 2021 19:01 IST

Nargis Nehan (right in picture) is currently in Norway, having left Afghanistan after the Taliban took Kabul.

DW spoke with Nargis Nehan about women's rights in Afghanistan and the possibility of working with the Taliban.

Nargis Nehan, a former minister in the Afghan government who was evacuated to Norway, told DW on August 31 that she could consider working in an Afghan government under Taliban rule, but with conditions. "I'm committed to my people, and I want to do whatever I can for bettering their life," she said. "If that means that I have to go and work with the Taliban, as long as they actually accept human rights and they provide us with the basic human rights that we deserve to have, then we are willing to collaborate with them."

The Taliban said they would announce their government after the U.S. finished withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. "If they want women's support, they should understand that we have expression, we have expectations... we want to be part of the government, we want to be part of the decision-making. We are just watching what kind of government they will form."

'The fall of humanity'

Speaking just hours after the last U.S. forces left Kabul airport, Nehan called it "not only the fall of Kabul, it's actually the fall of humanity and the fall of an effort of the whole international community for the last 20 years."

The Taliban had tried to strike a conciliatory tone shortly after they seized control. They promised press freedom and vowed to honor women's rights within "the limits of Islam." But the Taliban's "moderate" claims faded quickly, with reports of rounding up former government employees, cracking down on dissent and targeting journalists' families.

Nehan said she was wary of the Taliban's promises to be less oppressive of women this time around as they do not have clear policies. They have said their rules are based on "Islamic rights and Afghani culture, that is where the confusion started because Afghanistan is a very diverse country and you have different and diverse cultures. So when they say our culture, it was confusing for us to understand exactly which cultures they mean," she said.

"We hope that once they form the government, it will be an inclusive government," Nehan said. "It should have representation from different genders, from different social background, people of all ideologies, so that whoever is living in Afghanistan, somehow they see themselves part of that government."