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Afghan clerics' guidelines 'a green light for Talibanisation'

Kabul , Tue, 06 Mar 2012 ANI

Kabul, Mar 6(ANI): New guidelines from top Afghan clerics suggesting that women are subordinate to men, and must always be accompanied by a male guardian, while traveling, are dangerously reminiscent of the Taliban era, critics have said.


The edicts appeared in a statement that encouraged insurgents to join peace talks, fuelling fears that Afghan peace talks will come at a high cost to women.


"There is a link with what is happening all over the country with peace talks and the restrictions they want to put on women's rights," the Guardian quoted Afghan parliamentarian, Fawzia Koofi, as saying.


Though the Ulema Council recommendations are not legally binding,the statement detailing them was published by the President's office with no further comment, a move that has been taken as a tacit seal of approval.


"Ultimately, I don't see a way you can read it as not coming from (Hamid) Karzai. It's probably not an extreme position for the Ulema Council, but it's an extreme position for Karzai, and not compatible with the constitution, or Afghanistan's obligations under international law," a Human Rights Watch researcher, Heather Barr said.


The statement marks a disturbing return to the language and ideology of the Taliban, a former commissioner on Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission Nader Nadery said.


The clerics also renounced the equality of men and women enshrined in the Afghan constitution.


"Men are fundamental and women are secondary. Also, lineage is derived from the man. Therefore, the use of words and expressions that contradict the sacred verses must be strictly avoided," the statement said.


The statement drew criticism in parliament, where some politicians took it as a direct assault on the constitution and the wider government. (ANI)


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