By KIRTHANA SASITHARAN, HÜRRIYET DAILY NEWS
The Cabinet of The Democratic People’s Republic of Afghanistan (1978) held a press conference this morning to discuss its progress throughout the committee sessions. Questions surrounding women’s role, democracy, and international affairs were presented to the cabinet, but many members remained quiet and discreet in their addresses.
When asked what the body had done to help advance the role of women in the Afghan society and politics, the Minister of Education answered by claiming that the cabinet felt strongly about opening more schools in rural regions, while also offering incentives to women to encourage them to be teachers. The Attorney General Minister of Justice added that the cabinet felt strongly about announcing the status of women, however due to issues with Pakistan and India, the progress to help advance the role of women has been pushed back. Nonetheless, the Minister claims that the cabinet is on its way to voting on and acknowledging Gender Equality.
The issue of women in Politics was not mentioned or acknowledged.
The Cabinet was asked about what the religious unrest in Afghanistan meant for international relations and the role Afghanistan has to play in the world. This question was met with some disputing claims and vague assertions, as the Minister of Defense said that the Cabinet is trying to find a middle ground for Muslim principles and communist ideologies. The Minister continued to express that it was important that the Cabinet respect the culture and rights of the people, despite their ideologies. It was the Minister of Health that responded by first disputing the basis of the question, claiming that they are not seeing an ethnic uprising, but rather the influence of Pakistan and Iran trying to destabilize the nation. These countries do not want to see a strong “communist Afghanistan.”
Finally the Cabinet was asked about the economic standpoint of the nation and The Minister of Foreign Affairs was quick to assert that Afghanistan was working with foreign governments such as Cuba and the Soviet Union to help the economy make great strides. The ministry is working to advance the nation’s factories and industries mostly “both in terms of global production of poppy and opium to sell as morphine… as well as developing our raw resources we have been importing from the Soviet Union.” The Minister continued on to say, “In terms of our land reform, we are adopting communes in order to be more efficient in our agriculture.”
The Ministers claimed progress was being made, but remained neutral and vaguely responsive in their claims.