Kabul: Amidst growing concerns about the plight of women in Afghanistan, the Taliban has made claims about providing them with a “comfortable, prosperous life.” The supreme leader of the Taliban, Hibatullah Akhundzada, released an Eid ul-Adha message asserting that his government has taken steps to improve women’s lives in the country. However, these claims come in stark contrast to the reality faced by Afghan women since the Taliban takeover, where their rights and freedoms have been severely curtailed.
Reports indicate that women are currently banned from public life and have limited access to education and work opportunities. The declaration by Hibatullah Akhundzada was made ahead of the upcoming Eid-ul-Adha celebration in Afghanistan and other Islamic countries. The statement claimed that necessary measures had been taken to provide women with a comfortable and prosperous life in accordance with Islamic Sharia law. Akhundzada emphasised the restoration of women’s status as free and dignified individuals and stated that institutions were obligated to support women’s rights in marriage, inheritance, and other areas.
However, these claims come just days after a UN report highlighted the erasure of women’s presence under Taliban rule. Irene Khan, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, declared that the Taliban had completely abolished women’s public presence. Furthermore, UN Special Rapporteur for Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, said that the Islamic Emirate had issued more than 50 edicts denying Afghan women their rights to education, a job, and participation in social and political life.
Since taking control in September 2021, the Taliban has implemented approximately 50 anti-women decrees, severely restricting women’s freedoms and banning them from public spaces such as parks and gyms. These actions have faced international condemnation, further isolating Afghanistan and exacerbating an already dire humanitarian crisis. The country currently faces the largest humanitarian crisis globally, with over 28 million people relying on aid for survival.
Despite the assertions made by Akhundzada, Afghan women continue to face significant challenges and restrictions. They are barred from working in education, both domestically and internationally, as well as in gyms and public spaces. The Taliban’s leadership has consistently issued severe decrees limiting women’s access to education and employment opportunities.