Living With The Taliban

Living With The Taliban

Two years after it evacuated from Afghanistan, the United States is still analysing the consequences of engaging militarily in a nation/region and those that entail withdrawal, with “lessons for the future,” as per the latest report submitted to the US Congress by US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan John F Spocko.

More detailed and forthright is the response of former US envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ryan Crocker. He said at the congressional hearing: “The first is to be careful about what you get into. Military interventions bring consequences.., consequences that we cannot even imagine, let alone plan for.” The second lesson was that “a withdrawal can have consequences as far-reaching and as serious as those of an intervention.., (as) we simply cede the field to our adversaries.”

One can only hope that this wisdom by hindsight would help in future, given America’s penchant for intervention and compulsion to stay on top of the global power game.

Crocker lists the “third lesson” of the need for “strategic patience.” The US failure to do so in Afghanistan, he said, had “its greatest impact… next door in Pakistan” where “allies came to fear our lack of strategic patience.” Crocker is wrong here and adds to the American delusion. Pakistan sheltered the Taliban for two decades hoodwinking the world and facilitated their return. Then Prime Minister Imran Khan called the US exit “freedom from slavery”. Far from gaining any “strategic depth”, it is running back to the US “to combat terrorism and ensure regional stability.” The US may oblige, without direct intervention. So, here we go again!

Zalmay Khalilzad midwifed the 2020 Doha Agreement with the Taliban because Donald Trump wanted to “bring the boys home” in time for his presidential re-election. ‘Boys’ returned, badly bruised, under Joe Biden. Khalilzad proposed that Afghan politicians, now living in exile, return to their country, “make a unity government and negotiate with the Taliban.” One may ask if he would risk returning to Kabul to be part of the talks with the ‘good’ Taliban.

American media and think tank reports indicate that the US thinks the Taliban may be “more willing to oblige now than ever before,” because of the growing rivalry between them and other militants, particularly the ISIS-K. Again, this delusionary vision needs to be cleared with some more introspection. Although threatened, the Taliban are unlikely to beg the world community for help.

Kabul has recently appealed only for “more transparent” dealing by the world, which can be interpreted as diplomatic recognition. But there is not even a hint in the address by their chief, Heibatullah Akhundzada, about sharing power with anyone, or a better deal for women. On both scores, the Taliban, perhaps, consider themselves as more Muslims than others. The Islamic nations are extremely wary, not for lack of solidarity but for the Taliban’s threat potential.

ALSO READ: How To Deal With A Stubborn Taliban

Other than this, the world cannot but worry on two counts: the abject poverty of the Afghan people, a majority of whom, as per the UN, do not get enough food and medical help. And as the Taliban must, Afghanistan has become a terror hub whose impact can go well beyond its borders and the region. The ISIS-K has relocated from West Asia and Al Qaida operates directly and through affiliates from Arab and Central Asian militant groups.

More experienced than they were and more cautious, but the Taliban are not very different from what they were when in power (1996-2001). There have been 51 bans on women, stymying their normal existence and taking away whatever freedom they gained during the Soviet era of the 1980s and the US-one during 2002-2021.

A mix of defiance and resignation pervades in Kabul. Those in government are under the firm control of their ideological mentors in Kandahar. They are ready to sit out for any recognition that would have to come on their terms.

The Taliban have shown tactical patience in warding off global pressures amidst poverty and isolation. Despite the obvious advantage, Pakistan enjoys as the principal provider of access to the world outside, a landlocked Afghanistan has sought to leverage its position. For one, it wants to bargain any cooperation on reining in the marauding Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) by seeking larger trade and more trading points on the border. For Kabul, the TTP is a point of leverage against Islamabad. The latter, so far, has no clue how to tackle the TTP, with or without Kabul’s cooperation.

In a bitter irony, Pakistan’s Ambassador to US Masood Khan has said that the TTP and other militant groups were using weapons left behind by US troops for attacking targets in Pakistan. As per American media reports, the US forces left behind $7billion worth of military equipment and weapons, including firearms, communications gear, and even armoured vehicles. While Kabul enjoys the bigger booty, small arms and ammunition are used by the TTP to make violent forays targeting Pakistani security forces.

The Kabul rulers treat TTP, whose fighters had fought alongside in 2021 as ideological brothers and guests – the same sentiment that made them host Osama bin Laden and his successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri. The US eliminated the latter with Pakistani logistic support. That, despite denials by Islamabad and silence by Washington, is likely to continue.

Retired Pakistani diplomat Ashraf Jahangir Qazi writes in Dawn (August 17, 2023): “Mullah Akhundzada also asks pertinent questions. Why out of Afghanistan’s six neighbours only Pakistan, which has fenced almost its entire border, complain of terrorism from Afghanistan? Is it because Pakistan cannot contain the TTP which actually operates from inside Pakistan with on-and-off support from certain quarters?” For obvious reasons, Qazi does not elaborate on “certain quarters” that are doubly betrayed, by the Taliban and the TTP.

As the US loses strategic space, the net gainer is China. The Afghan-China border trade via the Wakhan Corridor is set to begin even as Kabul seeks Chinese investment in copper mining and energy/infrastructure projects. With Pakistan, its biggest ally in the region, China is working to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan. Even if fraught with security risks and heavy investment, the ‘CPAEC’ opens new vistas for China. Pakistan wants it extended to Turkey as well. Even a partial success of all these plans cannot leave Afghanistan untouched.

This may seem far-fetched today – so was the CPEC – but fits into China’s plans in the vast region where its economic footprint can grow wider. Deft diplomatic moves in facilitating an Iran-Saudi Arabian rapprochement earlier this year have shown that China can pull off successes in areas that the West for long considered its backyard.

Two years of Taliban are but a speck in Afghanistan’s long history as the crossroad of invaders and emperors, conquerors, scholars, builders and travellers. Sadly, however, peace has eluded its people. There is no idea how many more generations will have to suffer.

The writer can be reached at

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Females In Afghanistan

Females In Afghanistan Spent A Terrible Time In 2022

Women and girls in Afghanistan spent a terrible time in 2022 after being banned from schooling, higher education, and employment in non-governmental organizations reported TOLO News.

The TOLO News report stated, “Secondary schools were closed to girls at the beginning of the year. Universities were closed for women in December. So was the opportunity for women to work in national and international NGOs.”
Schools for girls were supposed to reopen on March 23, 2022. The Taliban, however, said that schools will remain closed until further notice. They are yet to open.

Islamic emirate officials expressed various opinions on the closure of schools. In an interview with RTA TV, Zabiullah Mujahid said that schools for girls were closed due to religious issues.

Afghanistan’s acting minister under the caretaker Taliban regime later said that schools for girls were closed due to cultural issues and that people are not willing to send their daughters to school.

“If (we) were acting on Pakistan’s instruction, the problems of the schools and other problems would have already been solved. This is a religious issue and it needs Islamic cleric’s agreement,” said Zabiullah Mujahid, the Islamic Emirate spokesman, as quoted by TOLO News.

The TOLO News report also quoted Noorullah Munir, the former minister of education, saying that: “You wouldn’t need to ask me the same question if you ask how many people in this mosque are willing to send their 16-year-old daughter to school. You and I both grew up in the same Afghan society, and the culture is clear to everyone.”

A committee of eight religious experts was formed on May 26, under the leadership of Pakistan’s Supreme Court chief Abdul Hakim Haqqani to look into the reopening of schools for girls. The committee is yet to make its achievements clear.

“The committee has eight members. It includes religious scholars. The committee has done some work to reopen high schools for girls. We hope it can be solved in the near future,” said Inamullah Samangani, former deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate, as quoted by TOLO News.

As many as 11.6 million women and girls are no longer receiving vital assistance in Afghanistan, the US envoy to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on Saturday in the wake of the Taliban’s decision to ban women from contributing to humanitarian aid efforts in the country.

“The Taliban’s decision to ban women from contributing to humanitarian aid efforts is already having terrible consequences. According to the UN, 11.6 million women and girls in Afghanistan are no longer receiving vital assistance. This dangerous, oppressive ban must be reversed,” Thomas-Greenfield tweeted. (ANI)

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Afghanistan Faces Health Emergency As Pneumonia Cases Rise

Amid the perceived humanitarian crisis that has gripped Afghanistan since the Taliban’s takeover last year, there has been a steep rise in pneumonia cases, the Tolo News reported.

Quoting doctors at the Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital (IGCH) in Kabul, the Tolo News added that more than 30 pneumonia cases are being reported at the hospital every day.

According to the report, the pneumonia outbreak is being attributed to poor hygiene, polluted air, and extremely cold temperatures with the onset of winter.

Quoting officials in the Ministry of Public Health in Afghanistan, the Tolo News further reported that more than 9,60,000 pneumonia cases have been reported across the country over the past 11 months, with the majority of patients being children.

Speaking to Tolo News, Saifullah Abasin, a doctor, said 30 to 50 pneumonia patients are hospitalised in Afghanistan every day.

He added that 30 percent of the patients are brought to hospitals in critical condition as they have to make a long and arduous journey from the remote corners of the country.

The parents of a newborn told Tolo News that their child has been under treatment at the IGCH for pneumonia for over a week.

Speaking to the Afgha television news channel, Roya, the child’s mother, said, “He has been battling pneumonia for six days now. I initially got him admitted to a private hospital and bought lots of medicines for him. However, I could only keep him in the private hospital for one night as his conditioned worsened and I was asked to shift my child to the Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital.”

The parents of another stricken child told Tolo News that the reason why their son caught pneumonia was that they did not have a room heater at home.

This is not Afghanistan’s first brush with a public health emergency under the Taliban. Recently, more than 600 people were found to be infected with a cholera-like enteric disease in the country. The outbreak left 15 people dead.

In August, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had reported that Afghanistan was battling multiple disease outbreaks, including Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD), measles, Congo fever, dengue fever, and Covid-19.

Over 19,050 confirmed AWD cases were reported in various provinces across Afghanistan, especially Kabul, Paktia, Khost, Paktika, Jawzjan Ghazni, Kandahar, and Zabul.

Also, as per a report, as many as 64,654 cases of measles were also reported across Afghanistan. (ANI)

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Afgh Taliban

Under Taliban, Lives Of Ex-Afgh Security Forces Under Grave Threat

In Afghanistan, the Taliban continue to torture and detainment forcefully security officials who had worked under the previous government, because of which the life of these officials has become miserable, according to a report in the Afghan Diaspora Network (ADN).

The Taliban took over Afghanistan after US and NATO forces left in August 2021. Several reports and incidents of killings, torture, and forced detainment of security officials who had worked under the previous government have been observed, because of which the life of these officials has become miserable, says the report.
All these incidents are the result of retaliatory revenge that the Taliban is trying to assert on these former officials from the Afghan police, army, intelligence, and militias that were fending off the Taliban with the help of NATO forces says the author of ADN report, Elhamudin Afghan.

Many of these former defence officials were successfully able to flee Afghanistan as they were well connected to officials in the US and NATO forces. At present many of these security officials who have escaped have settled in western countries or have crossed the border and reached Iran. However, those who were unsuccessful in leaving Afghanistan when the Taliban took over in 2021 are now bearing the brunt.

For the past two weeks, there have been daily reports of killings in the eastern region of Nangarhar province. ADN reported quoting Radio Azadi which reported that the bodies of six people associated with the former government were found in different areas of Jalalabad City. Much like what happened in Eastern Nangarhar, in Kabul, an elite forces soldier of the former government was killed along with his two brothers and his cousin in recent weeks, the report mentioned.

ADN reported quoting a November 2021 Human Rights Watch report to state that the Taliban had killed more than 100 of these former Afghan defence officials within just three months of their takeover of Afghanistan’s Ghazni, Helmand, Kunduz, and Kandahar provinces.

During that time Afghan social media users shared many graphic videos of torture and killings done by the Taliban to grab the attention of the western forces. It is pertinent to say that no government has yet recognized the Taliban’s government.

Locals of Eastern Nuristan province said that the district officials of the Taliban in Laghman province have arrested, tortured, and then killed in September this year, Bahrumudin Nuristani who was a commander in the previous Afghan army in the Mandol district.

People in the Mandol and Doaba districts of Nuristan province demanded a probe into Nuristani’s murder. ADN reported quoting a BBC report that the Taliban had admitted that Nuristani was arrested and later died in Taliban’s detention.

ADN took interviews of two members of the former Afghan security forces- Shawkat Tareen and Abdullah Bawar – both pseudonyms used by the writer to hide the identities for security reasons.

Tareen recalled the day when the Taliban took over, a day that he and all his colleagues cried. That day people from the Taliban tore Afghan flags, scattered papers, and insulted them. And now they have no hope for life as they are now suffering, he was quoted as saying.

“I remember that, on the day of the regime’s fall, most of the soldiers cried. The Taliban pulled down our national flag, scattered our papers, and insulted us. This is our terrible memory. Now we have no hope in life because we are suffering,” Tareen said.

The former Afghan official said that he now has neither physical, mental, social, nor economic security, he is currently unemployed, depressed, and can sleep only with the help of sleeping pills.

He also pointed out that he was frightened about hearing that four of his former colleagues had died between Iran and Turkey on the road to Europe and that his two daughters are suffering under the Taliban regime, which has banned girls from attending schools beyond the sixth class.

Similarly, another security official from Eastern Laghman province quoted in the ADN report states he was detained but released in August 2021. He said in the interview given to ADN that he now does not believe that he will be able to see an organized military for Afghanistan and added that if he gets a chance he will flee Afghanistan.

The ADN report points out that in recent months, Afghan social media users have started a campaign to gain the attention of Western countries that had been engaged in Afghanistan, begging them to save the lives of former Afghan security forces stuck in Afghanistan. (ANI)

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India Projects In AFghanistan Taliban

Taliban Says India May Restart 20 Projects In Afghanistan

Taliban on Wednesday said that India may restart 20 stalled projects in Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (MUDH) of Afghanistan said that the Indian charges d’affaires, Bharat Kumar, expressed India’s interest in improving relations and the resumption of Delhi’s projects in Afghanistan, reported Tolo News.

Kumar made the remarks in a meeting with the Minister of Urban Development and Housing, Hamdullah Nomani.

The agency quoting the MUDH Ministry said, “It is expected that India will resume work on at least 20 projects in several provinces of the country. Kumar made the remarks in a meeting with the Minister of Urban Development and Housing, Hamdullah Nomani, in Kabul.

“Projects they were implemented during the former government but were delayed due to political changes or other issues–they are now interested in resuming these projects, said Mohammad Kamal Afghan, a spokesman for the MUDH.

Economists said they believe that the implementation of the projects will facilitate job opportunities and boost development in the country, reported Tolo News.

“The resumption of these projects can also create job opportunities for the people and it can promote people’s income and drive Afghanistan out of political isolation,” said Darya Khan Baheer, an economist.

“The restart of these projects will decrease the level of poverty and unemployment,” said Nazkamir Ziarmal, an economist.

The Pajhwok Afghan News meanwhile said that Urban Development and Land Affairs Acting Minister Mawlavi Hamdullah Nomani had urged the Indian business community to invest in the urban development sector of Afghanistan.

On its Twitter handle, the Ministry wrote that acting Minister Nomani met the charge de affairs of the Indian embassy in Kabul. During this visit, the acting Minister Nomani said: “The Indian businessmen can invest in the urban and housing sector, especially in the New Kabul City project”.

Numani further added, “India implemented some projects in Afghanistan in the past, while some of them remained incomplete due to non-payment”. He asked the Indian government to clear its stance about the incomplete projects as well.

“Projects they were implemented during the former government but were delayed due to political changes or other issues–they are now interested in resuming these projects, said Mohammad Kamal Afghan, a spokesman for the MUDH.

Locals believe that implementing the projects will facilitate job opportunities, decrease poverty and unemployment, and boost development in the country.

In addition, the visiting Indian envoy was requested to provide the Afghan nationals with scholarships for master’s and Ph.D. degrees in the civil and urban development field to increase Afghan engineers’ capacity further.

Charge de affairs Bharat Kumar said the ministry could share information about all the mentioned projects. He will convey the message to the Indian government to solve their problems and make all projects ready to use.

I have received some details about the New Kabul Project, and I would talk about them to Indian investors as well, Kumar said.

India had to stop all its projects once the Taliban took over the reins of power in August 2021. India then closed its embassy, which restarted functioning a few months ago. India still has security issues as several civilian projects, religious places, and the Russian embassy were targeted recently by suspected Islamic State terrorists.

India, before the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, had invested in developmental and capacity-building projects of around three billion dollars.

The significant projects India supported in Afghanistan were: The 42MW Salma Dam in Herat province was inaugurated in 2016 and is known as the Afghan-India Friendship Dam. The other high-profile project was the 218-km Zaranj-Delaram highway built by the Border Roads Organisation. Zaranj is located close to Afghanistan’s border with Iran.

India built the Afghan Parliament in Kabul for $90 million. A block in the building is named after former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

In 2016, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the restored Stor Palace in Kabul, initially built in the late 19th century. India also constructed one of its leading hospitals in Kabul.

India, in the past, has been supporting in developing the human resources, giving training to professionals and offering a considerable number o scholarships and admissions to Afghan students to study in India.

The Indian projects are mostly people-centric in all 34 provinces of Afghanistan. The projects were aimed at making Afghanistan a self-sufficient nation. India also operationalized air freight corridors and the Chabahar Port to enhance regional connectivity to Afghanistan.

India presently has been voicing deep concern at the unfolding humanitarian situation in Afghanistan; India donated consignments of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. These include 40,000 MTs of wheat, about 50 tonnes of medical aid consisting of essential lifesaving medicines, anti-TB medicines, 500,000 doses of COVID vaccine, essential medical/surgical items, and 28 tons of other disaster relief material. (ANI)

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Afgh: Taliban Publicly Flogs Boy, Girl For Having Pre-Marital Affair

The Taliban authorities in Bamyan province on Friday publicly flogged a boy and a girl for having a pre-marital affair, Khaama Press reported citing local sources.

Earlier, a local court in Bamyan province in Afghanistan had ordered public flogging on November 17.
Arezoo and Mohammad Essa have been sentenced to thirty-nine public floggings as they were allegedly in love and had a premarital affair. According to Khaama Press, around 1,000 people witnessed when the couple was being publically punished.

The couple had traveled to Bamyan for casual reasons when they were forcefully detained by Taliban officials.

Taliban Supremo Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada previously in a meeting with court judges said that they must not hesitate in giving Hadd and Qisas punishments as per Islamic law, according to Khaama Press.

Hadd crimes are punishable by death or amputation of limbs and other harsh punishments and Qisas are ruled as per the eye for an eye law of retributive justice.

Since the Taliban’s hostile takeover of Afghanistan, similar incidents have been happening frequently.

A similar incident happened in the Ghor province of Afghanistan. A girl had committed suicide just before the Taliban had planned to publicly stone the woman on October 16 as she had been found guilty of running away from home with a man. The man whom she had run away with was executed on October 13 this year.

Not only this, human rights situation in Afghanistan has also deteriorated. Prior to this, Mahmood Shah Habibi, the former Afghan Aviation Authority Chief had recently traveled to Afghanistan and is missing since August 10 this year.

After the Taliban’s hostile takeover, the social and economic status of the country’s girls has also deteriorated.

The report, titled Breaking point: Life for children one year since the Taliban takeover, shows that 97 percent of families are struggling to provide enough food for their children and that girls are eating less than boys. (ANI)

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Taliban Faces Backlash

Taliban Faces Backlash For Detaining Women’s Rights Activists

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan has now demanded reasons for the continued detention of Zarifa Yaqoubi and other human rights activists, Khaama Press reported.

UNAMA has further added that it is seeking to access and contact the detained activists and know their whereabouts. UNAMA has also stressed that the detainees must have the right to contact their family members even when these activists have been detained in unknown locations by the Taliban, Khaama Press reported.
UNAMA has urged this when the harsh treatment of Taliban forces toward human rights activists extremely deteriorates the human rights situation in the country after its hostile takeover of the country.

Previously, Taliban forces had arrested woman journalists and human rights activists which included Zarifa Yaqoubi on November 3. During the arrest armed male and female officers of Taliban forces barged into a press conference held in Dasht-e-Barchi a neighbourhood in Kabul. Just after the arrest, the mobile phones of these detainees including Zarifa Yaqoubi were taken by force.

Yet another woman rights activist Farhat Popalzai had been allegedly detained on November 8. As there has been no information about Farhat’s whereabouts since November 8, Khama Press reported citing local sources.

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Afgh Taliban

Afghan Truck Drivers Report Amid Rising Cases Of Robbery On Highways

Truck drivers in the Afghan province of Paktia raised concerns about rising cases of armed robberies on highways and said that they have been deprived of money and valuables at gunpoint, Pajhwok News Agency reported on Wednesday.

Despite rise in crimes across Paktia province, the security officials refuted the claims made by drivers of theft and said that measures have been taken to ensure security on highways.
Mohammad Khan, a truck driver on the Gardez-Patan highway, lamented about the situation and said that he has been stopped by burglars several times on the highways.

“I and other drivers have been looted by robbers several times. They take money, mobile phones, and other things, there is no one to stop them,” Khan said while raising the issue of the deteriorating situation of truck drivers in the south-eastern province of Paktia, according to Pajhwok News Agency.

Another driver Rozi Uddin stated, “I was carrying food items in my vehicle four days ago when armed robbers stopped me at about 9 pm in the Badam Khanda area of Sayed Karam district. They robbed me of 5,000 afghanis, a bag of rice, a tin of cooking oil, and other food items.”

He stated that hundreds of trucks travel on the highway every day, but they run into troubles owing to armed robberies. Several other Paktia citizens expressed similar sentiments, urging security agencies to strengthen patrols and construct security checkpoints along routes, reported Pajhwok News Agency.

Incidents of robberies have increased in the country since the Taliban seized power in August last year.

Afghanistan is currently experiencing its highest rate of unemployment and poverty since the Taliban seized power and the crime rate has also increased ever since. In turn, this has led to a rise in killings, suicides, and interpersonal disputes, as per reports by Khaama Press.

The war-torn country is currently grappling with a serious humanitarian crisis according to international assessments with more than 23 million in need of assistance.

Moreover, the situation of human rights in Afghanistan has worsened since the collapse of the Afghan government and the Taliban’s return to power in August last year. Although fighting in the country has ended, serious human rights violations continue unabated, especially against women, children, and minorities.

With the US troop’s withdrawal from the country, large-scale violence has been unleashed creating political uncertainty in different parts of the country. At least 59 percent of the population is now in need of humanitarian assistance – an increase of 6 million people compared with the beginning of 2021, UNAMA reported. (ANI)

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Afghan Supreme Leader Orders

Afghan Supreme Leader Orders Full Enforcement Of Islamic law

Amid the growing concern over the human rights situation in Afghanistan, Taliban supreme leader Mawlawi Hebatullah Akhundzada, has ordered judges to fully implement Islamic law.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said the command from Haibatullah Akhundzada came after the leader met with a group of judges.
“Alaiqadar Amirul Momineen in a meeting of judges: Investigate the cases of thieves, kidnappers, and seditionists. Those cases that have met all the Shariah conditions of limitation and retribution, you are obliged to issue the limitation and retribution, because this is the order of the Sharia and my order and it is obligatory to act,” Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted on Sunday.

A Taliban spokesperson said the order of the leader of the Islamic Emirate will be implemented throughout the country. “Those who are involved in murder, kidnapping, and theft must be punished for their actions,” Taliban spokesperson Yousef Ahmadi told TOLOnews.

The Afghan news agency said this is the first time the Taliban leader issued a formal order to fully implement all aspects of Islamic law throughout the country since the Islamic group came to power.

The Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021 and imposed policies severely restricting basic rights–particularly those of women and girls, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The Taliban have dismissed all women from leadership posts in the civil service and prohibited girls in most provinces from attending secondary school. Taliban decrees prohibit women from traveling unless accompanied by a male relative and require women’s faces to be covered in public–including women TV newscasters.

The Taliban have censored broad, limiting critical reporting, and detained and beaten journalists.

According to rights groups, Taliban forces have carried out revenge killings and enforced disappearances of former government officials and security force personnel. They have summarily executed people deemed affiliated with the Islamic State. (ANI)

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Open Schools For Girls

Afghanistan: Social Media Campaign Calls Out Taliban To Open Schools For Girls

While the Taliban continues to deprive Afghan women and girls of basic rights, a social media campaign called “Let Afghan Girls Learn” is doing the rounds in the country to call out the Islamic outfit to immediately open the gates of secondary and high schools for girls, TOLO news reported.

The campaign, according to the host, Obaidullah Bahir is a non-political move to call out the Taliban to open secondary schools for girls so they can gain entrance for the upcoming Kankor exam which is a university-level entrance and the girls in Kabul can no more attend it due to closure of schools.
“This is a non-political campaign. The goal is to invite different guests for a week, both Afghans and foreigners, knowledgeable professors and any people who will discuss the opening of schools,” TOLO news quoted the host of the campaign, Obaidullah Bahir as saying.

Describing the goal as to get the schools open for Afghan girls as soon as possible, the organizers of the event said the young girls and women have been compromising with their aspirations since the Taliban took control of the country.

According to some students, as girls’ schools were shut down, they were unable to take the Kankor exam, leaving their future uncertain. These students petitioned the Islamic Emirate to create secondary schools for girls so they can get admission for the next Kankor exam since they said this year “thousands of girls were banned from taking the Kankor Exam.”

Nazanin is a 12th-grade student and due to the closing of the schools for girls, she could not participate in the Kankor exam.

“We just want the school to be opened, we are worried about our future, we want the schools to be opened so that we can study,” said Nazanin, a student.

“The 11th grader who went to 12th is without a future, the 12th grader who is studying to prepare for Kankor is also unlucky,” said Lima, another student as she described her plight, according to TOLO news.

Taliban has imposed draconian restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, association, assembly, and movement for women and girls.

The Taliban’s decision to ban female students above grade six from going to school has drawn widespread criticism at the national and international levels. Further, the Taliban regime which took over Kabul in August last year has curtailed women’s rights and freedoms, with women largely excluded from the workforce due to the economic crisis and restrictions.

As a result of this, women and girls in Afghanistan are facing a human rights crisis, deprived of the fundamental rights to non-discrimination, education, work, public participation, and health. Afghan women are staring at a bleak future due to a number of restrictions imposed by the Taliban governing aspects of their lives since taking over.

According to Human Rights Watch, women and girls are blocked from accessing health care as well. Reports suggest that women and girls facing violence have no escape route. Allowing girls into schools and other educational institutes has been one of the main demands of the international community. (ANI)

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