Afghanistan Courts Womens Rights

Afghan lawyers and judges are being persecuted by the Taliban. It threatens Afghan women, the justice system, and the rule of law.

The dangers facing Afghanistan’s judicial system began immediately after the Taliban takeover of the government in Afghanistan and has only been intensifying in the past nearly two years. 

In recent days, the threats and the persecution of the former judicial system employees have intensified even further, raising alarm among human rights organizations.

The Taliban’s blatant disregard for basic judicial rights and practices has also sparked concerns about the long-term implications on the country’s justice system now and post-Taliban. Because of the Taliban’s growing control, the basic functions of the justice system have collapsed, and a once improving and modern justice system does not exist anymore.  

The scope of these threats are widespread. For judges and prosecutors, particularly those who once prosecuted members of the Taliban, members of other criminal groups, and perpetrators of domestic violence, the threat to their safety is real. They are the Taliban’s first target, with instances of arbitrary arrests, detentions, and killing. A former military prosecutor, for example, was just arrested without explanation. According to UN estimates, “more than a dozen prosecutors, the majority men” have been killed by “unknown individuals in Kabul and other provinces. 

Similarly, many defense lawyers are unable to open their practices for fear of abuse from the government and Taliban judges. Many remain in hiding. 

Women lawyers in particular are feeling these effects as the Taliban has severely limited their involvement in the legal system and the practice of law. Early this year, the UN called Afghan women lawyers exclusion from the justice system “an act of brazen discrimination.” 

In response to the increasing restrictions, the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (AIBA), which has supported an increase in women lawyers, was relaunched in exile. Part of its efforts includes a Women’s Committee that seeks to support women lawyers through capacity-building workshops, programs, and evacuations of at-risk lawyers. 

Still, many women lawyers are unable to practice law safely. Soon after the Taliban took over, on November 22, 2021, the Taliban stripped AIBA of its independence and authority, closed the office, and the office is now under the Taliban Justice Ministry. AIBA is no longer an independent entity. 

This trend of continued persecution and harassment represents a growing barrier for the Afghan people to access justice, specifically for women, to achieve justice for the discrimination and violence they face. Not only does it eliminate the hard work and progress of women who became lawyers, but it also inhibits their financial independence by taking away opportunities for women to have their own source of income. Furthermore, it prevents women in the country from accessing lawyers who can provide support for their cases seeking justice for the mistreatment they face. 

More broadly, it represents a concerning growth in Taliban control over Afghan society and the power they have to make such fundamental changes. For women in particular, this growing control represents ongoing challenges to their most fundamental rights. 


Kabul Luftbrücke 06/19/2023; Hasht e Subh 06/21/2023; UN 01/20/2023; Jurist 06/19/2023; The Voice of European Lawyers 01/2023

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