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Afghanistan faces global flak for ban on women

Afghanistan faces global flak for ban on women

Taliban insist they are 'engaged in creating suitable environment for education and work of women'

 

By Anadolu Agency

 

KABUL (AA) - 

Afghanistan is probably the only state in the world that faces global flak for banning women from education and work inside the country.

Last month, the Taliban interim government banned girls' education in colleges and universities and barred women from working in local and international humanitarian organizations and participating in political activities.

“We are not allowed to visit any park, not allowed to go to school, college, and university. Now, the Taliban authorities banned women from working in any private organization,” Shaheen Mamoonzai, a schoolteacher in Kabul, told Anadolu Agency over the phone.

Last month, the Taliban administration expanded restrictions on women's education, most recently banning women from university study indefinitely and working in local and international NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations).

Global condemnation

The Taliban action was strongly condemned by the UN and countries across the world.

Since August 2021, following their return to power in Afghanistan after the officials of the US-backed Kabul administration fled the country and foreign forces withdrew, the Taliban administration has imposed several restrictions on women that compelled many professionals to leave the country.

“Preventing half of the population from contributing meaningfully to society and the economy will have a devastating impact on the whole country. It will expose Afghanistan to further international isolation, economic hardship, and suffering, impacting millions for years to come,” said the UN in Afghanistan in its latest statement last month.

The ban on women could cause an economic loss of up to $1 billion to the war-torn country while a ban on women from universities, including female teachers and professors, will contribute to additional economic losses, according to the UN.

"No woman is allowed to go to a hospital, and any private or public place without their father, brother, husband or son accompanying them," said Mamoonzai.

"Thousands of women like me have lost their jobs," she added.

On Wednesday, UN Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan Markus Potzel met with Deputy Prime Minister Mawlavi Abdul Kabir and conveyed the UN concerns over the current situation of women in Afghanistan.

"The denial of Afghan women’s rights harms all Afghans. Critical humanitarian assistance is being disrupted. Bans on women's education and work need lifting to stop greater economic misery and the isolation of Afghanistan," Potzel said, according to United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

The UNAMA clarified that they will retain all their female Afghan employees and urged the Taliban government to reverse the ban on women working for aid agencies.

Schools for blind girls also shut down

Despite international outrage, the Taliban authorities shut down schools for blind girls in Kunar and Laghman provinces.

“These schools were established with the UN support but now the government has closed them,” a local official in Kunar province said on the condition of anonymity due to the security situation.

There were 30 blind girls enrolled in Kunar, he said.

When asked whether the recent ban on girls' education has affected his children too, he responded: "Yes, my two daughters have been affected and now I have shifted them to a local religious seminary."

‘Suitable environment for women’

Despite repeated attempts by Anadolu Agency, contact with the Taliban deputy spokesman could not be established for their version.

However, acting Taliban Deputy Prime Minister Mawlavi Abdul Kabir said that Islamic Emirate believes that learning religious and modern scientific education is the right of every Afghan, state-run Bakhtar News Agency reported.

"Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is engaged in creating a suitable environment for the education and work of women," Kabir told Potzel.

He asked the international community to help Afghanistan create a suitable environment for women.

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