Pakistan's Permanent Representative in the United Nations, Munir Akram, said that the Taliban's ban on women's education and work in Afghanistan is not a religious issue and is rooted in Pashtun culture.
Akram said that as part of the Pashtun culture it is enshrined that women should stay at home.
Akram’s remarks about the Pashtun culture have been met with sharp criticisms by Pashtuns in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Afrasiab Khattak, a former member of the Pakistan Senate, called these remarks an insult to Pashtuns and asked if “Pakistan represents the Taliban?"
Shah Mahmood Miakhel, Deputy Minister of Defense of the former Afghan government, also reacted to Akram’s remarks and said that playing an ethnic card is a shameful act.
Miakhel added that millions of girls in the Pashtun areas on both sides of the Durand line attend schools and are active members of their society.
Miakhel said, "Fanatic Taliban doesn’t represent Pashtun society, but they in fact represent wishes of Pakistan ISI.”
Imran Khan, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, also asked the international community last year to consider the cultural sensitivities in Afghanistan regarding human rights and women's rights.
Imran Khan had said that in Pashtun villages, people are not ready to send their daughters to school.