After keeping them out of school, offices, Taliban say women will get ‘potent and effective administration’

Published on Sep 20, 2021 12:43 PM IST

The Taliban did not allow girls to attend school and banned women from work and education when the hardline Islamists were last in power from 1996 to 2001. 

The Taliban replaced signs for Afghanistan’ women's ministry with those for their moral police in Kabul. (AFP Photo)
The Taliban replaced signs for Afghanistan’ women's ministry with those for their moral police in Kabul. (AFP Photo)
By | Written by Meenakshi Ray, New Delhi

The Taliban have said they will establish “a potent and effective administration” under the Sharia law for women as they kept girls out of school and ordered women employees in the Kabul city government to “stay home”, according to a local report. Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said that the administration will be created in the framework of Islamic principles and there is no need to give it the name of a ministry or its sub-division, reported The Khaama Press News Agency.

The Khaama Press said Mujahid, who is also the Taliban deputy minister of information and culture, has said in his recent interview said that the women’s ministry of the previous government did nothing for the betterment of the lives of Afghan women. Despite the existence of the ministry, the women in the rural areas of Afghanistan were not given their basic rights, Mujahid added.

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Last week, the Taliban replaced signs for Afghanistan’ women's ministry with those for their moral police in the capital city of Kabul. Reuters reported citing photographs and witnesses that the sign for the building was covered by a replacement in a mixture of Dari and Arabic, reading "Ministries of Prayer and Guidance and the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice" on Friday. Women staff said they were told to go home after they tried to return to work at the ministry for several weeks since the Taliban takeover last month.

When the Taliban were last in power from 1996 to 2001 girls were not allowed to attend school and women were banned from work and education. The ministry for promotion of virtue and prevention of vice during their last regime became known as the group's moral police. The ministry’s interpretation of Sharia included a strict dress code and public executions and beatings. However, Taliban officials have said they will not return to their earlier fundamentalist policies, including banning girls from receiving an education.

Also read | No respect: Afghan rights commission says Taliban using its cars, other assets

As the Taliban announced the list of cabinet posts earlier this month it included an acting minister for the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice but made no mention of a women's minister. And, last week a senior Taliban leader said women would not be allowed to work in government ministries with men. The latest comment by the Taliban also comes as the girls have not been allowed to attend secondary and high schools.

On Sunday, dozens of women activists protested outside the women's ministry on after it was closed by the Taliban. "The ministry of women's affairs must be reactivated. The removal of women means the removal of human beings,” Baseera Tawana, one of the protesters outside the building, told Reuters. Another protester, Taranum Sayeedi, said “the woman of Afghanistan today is not the woman of 26 years ago." "You cannot suppress the voice of Afghan women by keeping girls at home and restricting them, as well as by not allowing them to go to school," she added.

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