Skip to main content

Qatar says Taliban rights abuses 'very disappointing'

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al Thani lamented the Taliban's "backward" steps.
A member of Taliban stands guard along a road in Kabul on Sept. 30, 2021.

Qatar is disappointed by the Taliban’s handling of human rights in Afghanistan, particularly its treatment of women and girls, the Gulf country’s chief diplomat said Thursday. 

“The recent actions that we have seen, unfortunately, in Afghanistan — it has been very disappointing to see some steps being taken backward,” Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told reporters in Doha. 

In a joint press briefing with the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, Al Thani said Qatar would continue to urge the Islamist group to avoid actions that harm women. 

"We have also been trying to demonstrate for the Taliban how Muslim countries can conduct their laws, how they can deal with the women's issues," said the Qatari foreign minister. 

“One of the examples is the State of Qatar, which is a Muslim country. Our system is an Islamic system [but] we have women outnumbering men in workforces in government and in higher education,” Al Thani said. 

Human rights organizations, however, have pointed to Qatar’s own restrictions on women, including a male guardianship system that limits the freedom of women to marry, work and travel. 

Al Thani’s comments come amid mounting fears the Taliban will erase many of the hard-won gains for Afghan women. The country’s new rulers say they will respect the rights of women and girls, but early indications are not promising. 

Following the withdrawal of US troops last month, the Taliban has told women in some areas to stay home from work and imposed restrictions on girls’ secondary schooling. The Taliban, which adhere to an extreme interpretation of Islam, has also appointed an all-male cabinet and has shuttered the Ministry of Women's Affairs.  

Across Afghanistan’s major cities, recent protests against the hard-line restrictions were met with a violent response from the Taliban, with the group’s fighters reportedly beating some female demonstrators. 

Qatar, which has emerged as a major power broker of Afghanistan’s future, has repeatedly called on the Taliban to preserve women’s rights. The Gulf country, which hosted peace talks between the militant group and the former Western-backed Afghan government, is now home to the US remote mission for Afghanistan. 

Doha also played a key role in facilitating the evacuation of thousands of US citizens, foreigners and at-risk Afghans. In the weeks since the Taliban takeover, Qatar’s state airline has chartered multiple evacuation flights from Kabul’s international airport.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial