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Taliban 'likely' to inherit Afghanistan's seat on UN Council on Status of Women

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The Taliban, who have a notorious history of oppression and violence toward women, are poised to seat a representative on the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women should they form a recognized Afghan government, a former U.N. ambassador says.

After a swift takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban terror group, as well as deposed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's escape to the United Arab Emirates, the future of Afghanistan's leadership, and by extent its representation in global organizations, is uncertain, says John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the U.N.

"You have a new crew that comes in, and the U.N. has to decide, 'Do we accept the credentials of a new ambassador?'" Bolton told the Washington Examiner Tuesday. "It's certainly possible to challenge that and deny them a seat. You can say they're not legitimate."

However, incoming governments, even those that were established in less-than-diplomatic methods, typically inherit their predecessor's posts, the former ambassador added, noting rejection is rare.

"It's unusual and hasn't often been successful," Bolton, a controversial figure who served as U.N. ambassador under former President George W. Bush and national security adviser to former President Donald Trump, continued. "I think the most likely outcome is the Taliban gets seated."

Of particular concern is the Afghan seat on the Commission for the Status of Women. Afghanistan secured the seat in 2020 , receiving a sufficient 39 votes.

The U.N. describes the Commission for the Status of Women as the "principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women." The commission's stated goal is to "agree on further actions to accelerate progress and promote women’s enjoyment of their rights in political, economic, and social fields."

The Taliban's treatment of women has attracted scrutiny internationally despite attempts to ease fears of Afghanistan's future as a fundamentalist, totalitarian regime. Though the Taliban promised on Aug. 17 that they are "ready to provide women with environment to work and study, and the presence of women in different (government) structures according to Islamic law and in accordance with our cultural values," a senior Taliban leader indicated the next day that women's right to education is up for debate.

"Our scholars will decide whether girls are allowed to go to school or not," Waheedullah Hashimi, a senior Taliban leader, said on Aug. 18.