Pakistan sent its Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, to Afghanistan to talk to the Afghan Taliban on various areas of interest to both nations. In ordinary circumstances, this would have been just another visit by a state minister. However, Khar being in a position of power in front of the Afghan Taliban, who have barred women from stepping out of the house without a male family member, sends a powerful message. She was praised by many on social media, and the images captured on the trip were widely shared. It was extremely brave of Khar to go into the lion’s den and hold talks with hardliners who treat their women like objects.
Since coming to power in August 2021, the Taliban have incrementally placed restrictions on women. Although they made promises that no such thing would happen this time around, the world was hopeful that the Afghan women would continue their lives the way they were living before the Taliban. However, such was not the case. Secondary schools for girls were closed, women were once again made to cover themselves from head to toe, and their movement was restricted. With each passing day, the lives of women in Afghanistan become more difficult. In such times, witnessing the Taliban hold talks with a woman minister from another country shows that they will respect a woman in a position of power but will oppress a weak one without much thought.
Afghanistan seeks aid from the world on a humanitarian basis. Since the Taliban takeover, the country’s assets have been frozen, and people have been suffering immensely. Some organizations and countries have tried to help as much as they could, but the dealings with the Taliban are not transparent, hence the lack of trust. This has resulted in the hesitancy of states to pour aid into Afghanistan. However, what the Afghan Taliban do not understand is that an educated population is what will take their country out of turmoil. Moreover, the inclusion of the female population in all areas is necessary for the country to jump on the development path.
When sending envoys to different countries where women are oppressed and do not get equal rights, many international organizations prefer sending women. The reason for this is that it shapes the thinking of a population. Not only do men see a woman in a position of power and are likely to have an impact on their thinking on women’s role in society, but women are also inspired and motivated to fight for their rights and reach positions of power in different sectors of society.
There was no better person to go to Afghanistan to talk about bilateral issues and aid than Hina Rabbani Khar. The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs is a class apart. She is articulate in her speech, has always fought for what she believes in and has the resolve to stand tall in front of the oppressive regime of the Taliban. She showed the Taliban that women are equal to men and can handle all jobs perfectly well. This may as well not have been on her agenda, but her trip did bring forward a lot of ideas regarding women’s empowerment.