Taliban announce list of deputy ministers without naming any women, doubling down on all-male govt

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Kabul: The Taliban announced a list of deputy ministers on Tuesday, failing to name any women, despite an international outcry when they presented their all-male Cabinet ministers earlier this month.

The list was presented by government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid at a news conference in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

The list of deputy ministers signals that the Taliban have not been swayed by international criticism and that they're doubling down on their current hard-line path despite initial promises of inclusivity and upholding women's rights.

The international community has warned that it will judge the Taliban by their actions, and that recognition of a Taliban-led government would be linked to the treatment of women and minorities. In their previous rule of Afghanistan in the late 1990s, the Taliban had barred girls and women from schools, work and public life.

The Taliban have framed their current Cabinet as an interim government, suggesting that change was still possible, but they have not said if there would ever be elections.

In response to questions, Mujahid defended the expanded Cabinet lineup, saying it included members of ethnic minorities, such as Hazaras, and that women might be added later.

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