A Taliban spokesman told Fox News on Friday that the U.S. should not be concerned with Afghan women's rights following the group's takeover of Afghanistan last month.
''There will be no issue about women's rights,'' said Suhail Shaheen. ''No problem about their education, their work," he added. "But we should not be after changing each other's culture as we are not intending to change your culture, you should not be changing our culture."
Shaheen made the statement despite growing international concern over possible human rights violations of women in Afghanistan. Politico reports that female heads of state and humanitarian organizations around the world are coming together to call for women's rights to be upheld in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
''We are very worried about the status of women and children. ... We need the women as teachers, as healthcare workers, in children's hospitals as doctors; we need the women to be able to work in the society. We are, as yet, unclear in some areas if that's going to be allowed,'' UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore told CNBC.
Shaheen said there is room for differences. He said Western culture believes ''women should have an education without [a] hijab [a religious headscarf worn by many Muslim women]." That is a change of culture," he said. "Our culture ... they [women] can receive education with hijab. They can work with hijab.''
Shaheen spoke of the future between the U.S. and Afghanistan. "We should be focusing how can we work together in a positive and constructive way which is in the best of interest of both sides."
The U.S. withdrawal last month represents the past, he added. "We have closed one chapter. For us, it was occupation. We ended that. We were staging resistance," he told Fox News. "But now it is closed. It is the past. We have to focus on the future that is better for them and for us."
Reports Friday indicated that Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will soon lead a new interim government in Kabul, sources told Reuters.
A source close to the group told the news agency the interim government would consist only of Taliban members, contain 25 ministries and a consultative council of a dozen Muslim scholars.
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