Prague, 9 January 1997 (RFE/RL) -- The United Nations has sent a special human rights envoy, Paik Choong-Hyun, to Afghanistan for talks with the Taliban administration.
Paik said on arrival in the capital Kabul today that he was in the country "to assess the situation on the ground." He expressed particular concern about the effects of the fundamentalist Islamic Taliban's policies towards women. The Taliban has controlled Kabul since last September.
Paik's visit comes two days after a United States embassy delegation from neighboring Pakistan traveled to Kabul for talks with Taliban leaders.
Meanwhile, the Taliban today issued guidelines for Afghans ahead of the lunar fasting month of Ramadan. Reuter reports that the guidelines were prepared by the department for promoting good and suppressing vice. They call on all hotels and eating places to close during the day and warn women not to venture out of their houses, "without a legal excuse." These are given as buying food, visiting relatives in hospital or attending funerals.
The 9 p.m. nightly curfew in Kabul will be eased to allow people to attend public prayers.