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Afghan women outraged by Taliban restrictions on work

A Taliban fighter watches as Afghan women hold placards during a demonstration demanding better rights for women in front of the former Ministry of Women Affairs in Kabul on September 19.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Fears were mounting in Afghanistan on Monday as the Taliban tightened their grip on women’s rights, slashing access to work and denying girls the right to secondary school education.

After pledging a softer version of their brutal and repressive regime of the 1990s, the Islamic fundamentalists have been stripping away at freedoms one month after seizing power.

“I may as well be dead,” said one woman, who was sacked from her senior role at the Foreign Ministry.

“I was in charge of a whole department and there were many women working with me... now we have all lost our jobs,” she said.

The acting Mayor of the capital Kabul has said any municipal jobs currently held by women would be filled by men. Many women fear they will never find meaningful employment. Although still marginalised, Afghan women have fought for and gained basic rights in the past 20 years, becoming lawmakers, judges, pilots and police officers, though mostly limited to large cities.

Hundreds of thousands have entered the workforce — a necessity in some cases as many women were widowed or now support invalid husbands as a result of two decades of conflict. But since returning to power on August 15, the Taliban have shown no inclination to honour those rights.

When pressed, Taliban officials say women have been told to stay at home for their own security but will be allowed to work once proper segregation can be implemented. “When will that be?” a woman teacher said. “This happened last time. They kept saying they would allow us to return to work, but it never happened.”

“The Taliban told us not to come to work and to wait for their second announcement. But it seems like they don’t want women to work again,” said a lawyer in the capital’s High Court.


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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 1:20:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/afghan-women-outraged-by-taliban-restrictions-on-work/article36576957.ece

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