Afghan woman ambassador launches group to help Afghan women

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Afghanistan’s first female ambassador to the United Nations has started a U.N. group to protect the rights Afghan women gained after the Taliban was ousted from power 18 years ago, amid fresh efforts to rekindle talks with the fundamentalist group to end the country’s long-running war.

Adela Raz told reporters Tuesday she is “not totally certain” the Afghan government will insist on preserving women’s rights in talks with the Taliban, which is a key reason the Group of Friends of Women in Afghanistan was formed.

The Taliban imposed a harsh form of Islamic law when they ruled Afghanistan in 1996-2001 that barred women from education and jobs and subjected them to stoning.

Raz says about 20 countries with female ambassadors and deputy ambassadors have already joined the Group of Friends.

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