Taliban ‘making women invisible’ in Afghanistan, says UN expert

KABUL: The Taliban government’s restrictions on women are aimed at making them “invisible” in Afghan society, a UN human rights observer said on Thursday during a visit to the country.
Since the Taliban returned to power last year, they have imposed severe restrictions on women and girls to conform to their austere view of Islam.
Teenage girls were barred from secondary schools, while women were forced out of some government jobs and banned from traveling alone.
This month, Afghanistan’s Taliban Supreme Leader and leader Hibatullah Akhundzada ordered women to cover themselves fully in public, including their faces.
These policies show a “pattern of absolute gender segregation and aim to make women invisible in society”, Richard Bennett, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, told reporters in Kabul.
“The de facto authorities have failed to acknowledge the scale and gravity of the abuses committed, many of them in their name,” Bennett said.
Her comments came as Taliban fighters broke up a protest by women on Thursday calling for the reopening of secondary schools for girls.
“Angry Taliban forces came and dispersed us,” Munisa Mubariz, one of the rally organizers, told AFP.
In March, the Taliban ordered the closure of all secondary schools for girls, just hours after they opened for the first time since taking power in August.
The government has yet to give a clear reason for the move, but officials say institutions will reopen soon.
Foreign governments have insisted that the Taliban’s human rights record, particularly women’s rights, will be key in determining whether the administration will be officially recognized.
During two decades of US-led military intervention in Afghanistan, women and girls have made marginal gains in the deeply patriarchal nation.
Some Afghan women initially pushed back against the Taliban’s new restraints, organizing small demonstrations demanding the right to education and work.
But hardliners quickly rounded up the ringleaders, holding them incommunicado while denying they had been detained.
Since their release, most have been silent.

Leave a Comment