Afghanistan

Timeline of Taliban Restrictions of Women’s Rights

August 2021

On August 25, the Taliban issued a temporary advisory for women to stay home from work and nonessential travel “for their safety”. At a news conference, Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said women should remain at home because Taliban soldiers were not trained to respect them. Mujahid explained this decision would ensure that women would not be disrespected or hurt. Today, due to restrictions prohibiting coed employment and independent travel for women, most women have not returned to the workforce.

September 2021

On August 30th, the Taliban banned coeducation, meaning girls could not attend school with boys or be taught by male teachers. Just a few weeks later, on September 17, girls’ education secondary was entirely halted with the promise that it would return in the spring. However, when girls showed up for their classes on March 23rd, they were turned away by the Taliban. Today, girls are still banned from attending public school after the 6th grade, and attendance levels before 6th grade have dropped significantly.

September 2021   

The Ministry of Women’s Affairs was closed and is replaced with the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prohibition of Vice. Under the Taliban, it will likely never return. The Ministry of Women’s Affairs was the foremost agency for promoting women’s rights and advancement in Afghanistan. The Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prohibition of Vice, on the other hand, serves as the morality police in Afghanistan. This ministry is a holdover from the first Taliban regime and is responsible for most of the Taliban’s edicts restricting women and their enforcement.

September 2021

Female employees of the Kabul municipality are banned from work and ordered to stay home. The only exception applies to women whose jobs cannot be performed by men, for example, the cleaning of female bathrooms. This ban effectively shuts women out of government work in the capital city of Kabul. Women previously held 27% of jobs in this municipality and this ban has put hundreds of women out of work.

November 2021

Women are denied access to health clinics without a mahram, a close male relative acting as a chaperone, present. Women are also not allowed to see male doctors unless a mahram is present. This greatly restricts women’s access to health care.

November 2021

On November 22, the Taliban banned women from appearing on non-news television such as dramas, soap operas, and entertainment shows. Additionally, foreign shows were prohibited from airing on Afghan televisions. On May 19th, female television presenters were ordered to cover their faces and all female television workers were ordered to cover their faces while on the air. This order, which appeared in a statement made by the Taliban’s Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prohibition of Vice called the decision “final and non-negotiable,”

December 2021

Women are not allowed to travel further than 50 miles without a mahram. This directive also instructed vehicle owners to refuse service to women not wearing Islamic head or face coverings. It also banned playing music in vehicles. On May 30th, 2022, women in the Kandahar province were completely banned from taking a taxi or public transportation without a mahram – regardless of the distance traveled. This decision is likely indicative of a future national ban on women’s independent travel.

May 2022

Women are ordered to cover themselves from head to toe in public, only revealing their eyes. Taliban officials explained that a burka was the preferred form of covering but recommended not leaving the house at all, as it is the best form of hijab. Taliban officials also decreed that male relatives would be responsible for compliance and face punitive measures if the edict was not enforced. This edict effectively confines women within the home, except for essential duties.

Sources:

BBC News 12/27/2021; NPR 05/20/2022; Time 03/29/2022; NPR 05/07/2022; The Washington Post 09/09/2022; CNN 08/25/2022; CNN 09/20/2022; Republic World 08/30/2022

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