KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers set up a ministry for the “promotion of virtue and the prevention of evil” in the building that once housed the ministry of women’s affairs, World Bank employees said on Saturday. was pulled out as part of the forced. Step.
It was the latest troubling sign that the Taliban are restricting women’s rights as they join the government just a month after they captured the capital of Kabul. During their previous regime in Afghanistan in the 1990s, the Taliban denied girls and women the right to education and barred them from public life.
Witnesses said three people were killed and 20 injured in three explosions targeting Taliban vehicles in the eastern provincial capital of Jalalabad on Saturday. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but militants from the Islamic State group, which is headquartered in the area, are enemies of the Taliban.
The Taliban are facing major economic and security problems as they attempt to rule, and the increasing challenge by IS militants will further strain their resources.
In Kabul, there was a new sign outside the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, declaring that it was now the “Ministry of Propaganda and Guidance and the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Evil”.
Program member Sharif Akhtar said that employees of the World Bank’s $100 million Women’s Economic Empowerment and Rural Development program, which walked out of the ministry of women’s affairs, were kicked out of the field.
Mabouba Sooraj, the head of the Afghan Women’s Network, said she was surprised by the flurry of orders banning women and girls by the Taliban-run government.
The Taliban-run education ministry on Friday asked boys in grades 6 to 12 to attend school from Saturday, along with their male teachers. There was no mention of girls returning to school in those classes. Earlier, the Taliban’s Minister of Higher Education had said that girls would be given equal access to education, albeit in gender-segregated settings.
“It’s getting really, really troublesome. … Is this the stage where the girls are being forgotten?” Suraj said. “I know they don’t believe in giving explanations, but explanations are very important.”
Sooraj speculates that the contradictory statements probably reflect divisions within the Taliban as they seek to consolidate their power, with the more pragmatic within the movement lost to hardliners among them, at least for now.
The Taliban leadership’s statements often reflect a desire to engage with the world, talk of open public spaces for women and girls, and protect Afghanistan’s minorities. But its rank and file orders on the ground are contradictory. Instead of what was promised, restrictions have been imposed exclusively on women.
Sooraj, an Afghan American who returned to Afghanistan in 2003 to promote women’s rights and education, said many of her fellow activists had left the country.
She said she tried to join the Taliban and find a middle ground, but so far had not been able to get the hardline Islamic group’s leadership to meet activists living in the country, talk with women. road ahead.
“We have to talk. We have to find a middle ground,” she said.
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay on Saturday added her voice to the growing concern over the Taliban’s borders on girls, as only boys were told to go back to school.
“Should this ban be upheld, it would be a significant violation of the fundamental right to education for girls and women,” Azoulay said in a statement upon arrival in New York for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly.
A former adviser to the women’s ministry under the previous Afghan government sent a video message to the Associated Press from her home in Kabul criticizing the Taliban’s move to shut down the ministry.
Sarah Seerat said, “Women have the right to work, learn and participate in politics on the national and international stage.” “Unfortunately, the current Taliban Islamic Emirate government has no place in the cabinet. The closure of the Women’s Ministry suggests that they have no plans to give women their rights or a chance to serve in the government and participate in other matters in the future.
Earlier this month the Taliban announced a full male exclusively Taliban cabinet, but said it was an interim setup, giving some hope that a future government would be more inclusive as many of their leaders promised. Was.
On Saturday also, an international flight by Pakistan’s national carrier took off from Kabul’s airport with 322 passengers and a Mahan Air flight from Iran took off with 187 passengers, an airport official said.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as not authorized to speak to the media, said two international flights took off in the morning. The identities and nationalities of those on board the plane were not immediately known.
Flights were the latest to depart Kabul last week as technical teams from Qatar and Turkey work to bring the airport up to standard for international commercial aircraft.
A Qatar Airways flight carried more Americans over Afghanistan on Friday, according to Washington, the third such airlift by the Middle East carrier since the Taliban takeover and the frantic US troop withdrawal from the country last month.
Associated Press writer Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.