UN holds meeting in Doha on Afghan women's rights issue

The United Nations has held a closed-door meeting on Tuesday to hear from Afghan women about their situation in the country.

This comes a day after a UN-led conference on Afghanistan in Doha, Qatar wrapped up with no Afghan women participating.

Delegates from the international community who are in charge of Afghan issues, as well as Afghan women and civil activists attended the meeting.

The Taliban have severely restricted women and girls' rights since returning to power in 2021.

The two-day UN conference that closed on Monday was the first of its kind attended by Taliban officials. However, no women from Afghanistan were able to take part because the Taliban refused to allow representatives other than them. International human rights organizations had been criticizing this exclusion.

Tuesday's meeting was set up in the midst of these circumstances but some of the female activists who were invited decided not to participate. One said, "Afghan women deserve to be at the main meeting table."

Still, UN Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo said Tuesday's meeting is part of a long-term dialogue.

Ahead of the meeting, she said: "We do have others who will be participating. We will engage, we will hear their views, we will share with them our views, how we think we can help going forward and work together."

Attention is focused on how the UN will manage the dialogue on the country's future, while communicating both with Afghan women and the Taliban who have restricted their rights.