London's The Observer newspaper reported that top bankers from Barclays Private Bank Ltd., the U.K.'s second largest bank, met with Taliban officials last month about investment opportunities in Afghanistan, citing senior members of the Taliban ministry as its source.
A spokesperson for Barclays confirmed that Barclays Director Mark Warner was in Afghanistan in November, but claimed that he was there on vacation, and not business.
Under the Taliban's repressive decrees, women and girls have been restricted from going to school, working, or leaving their homes without a male relative. When they do leave their houses with a chaperone, they are forced to wear a burqa, a cumbersome garment which greatly restricts sight and movement. The windows of houses where women live and bus windows must be obstructed so that women cannot be seen. In addition to enforcing these barbaric laws, the Taliban has also admitted to harboring international terrorist Osama bin Laden, suspected mastermind of last August's bombing attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.