Afghan female pupils attend school on the eve of UNESCO Literay Day, in Kabul, Afghanistan, 07 September 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/SAMIULLAH POPAL

Taliban deny suppression of Afghan women’s rights amid global criticism

New Delhi, Sep 14 (EFE).- The Taliban government has denied violating the rights of Afghan women in the country, even as they face worldwide condemnation for curtailing the fundamental women’s rights, particularly their access to education and employment, since regaining power in 2021.

Afghan pupils attend school on the eve of UNESCO Literay Day, in Kabul, Afghanistan, 07 September 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/SAMIULLAH POPAL

The Taliban’s minister for the propagation of virtue and prevention of vice, Mohammad Khalid Hanafi, claimed that their government has not “trampled” women’s rights and instead accused the international community of hypocrisy in their treatment of women’s rights, private broadcaster Tolo News reported on Thursday.

Hanafi in turn accused France of recently imposing a ban on female students in universities who wear abaya, a traditional Arabic dress worn by some Muslim women that covers them from head to toe.

“In France, which is always talking about education, when Muslim women wear hijab there, they are not allowed to attend university. Why is the international community not raising its voice?” the minister said.

Hanafi, who is responsible for implementing the restrictions on women, claimed that their government has taken steps in the past two years to improve women’s civil rights, such as enabling them to claim their inheritance and choose their life partner.

“About those brothers who deny inheritance to their sisters, the sisters have the right to lodge a complaint against them. No one has the right to plunder the heritage of their sisters,” he said.

Since the Taliban regained power two years ago, Afghan women’s rights have been drastically curtailed by a series of restrictions, including gender segregation in public spaces, the compulsory wearing of the burqa, and the requirement for women to be accompanied by a male relative on long-distance journeys.

In December, Taliban banned women from studying in universities and working in non-governmental organizations, an order that followed the long-standing ban on girls’ secondary education, imposed since the Islamists’ return to power.

The government has also banned women from running or visiting beauty salons, recreational parks, sports, and the film industry.

The Taliban has been reinstating the oppressive norms of their previous regime – between 1996-2001- based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law that stripped women out of several fundamental rights including access to education, work and public life. EFE