Human Rights & Public Liberties

Human Rights & Public Liberties

Published on: 13 Jan, 2021

‘No going back’: Afghan women protest exclusion from interim government

Published on: 10 September, 2021
Afghan women protest in Kabul this week [AP]

Afghan women protest in Kabul this week [AP]

Afghan women took to the streets in large numbers this week to protest against Taliban rule and the group’s restrictions on women’s rights.

On Wednesday the Taliban announced an interim government under the leadership of Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund.

No women were included in Afghanistan’s interim Cabinet.

Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of DAWN, said to Al Jazeera: ‘The Taliban think they can go back in time and push women out of playing an equal role in Afghanistan, and their exclusion of women from cabinet is a reflection of that. But there’s no going back; the people of Afghanistan are part of the modern world and will not tolerate this.’

The announcement of the new Taliban government came at a time when the Taliban was seen opening fire on women protesting in Kabul on Tuesday. A women’s protest in Kabul on Saturday  was also crushed by the use of tear gas and batons. Women held banners reading: ‘We are not women of the 90s,’ referring to the strict curbs on women under the Taliban’s previous rule.

The Ministry of Women’s Affairs was also eliminated from the Afghan cabinet. And the Taliban has reinstated the Ministry for the Propagation of Vice and Virtue.

The Taliban’s supreme leader Haibatullah Akundzada made a statement on Tuesday that ‘in the future, all matters of governance and life in Afghanistan will be regulated by the laws of the Holy Sharia.’

On Thursday, a small group of women marched toward the office of the governor of Herat, to demand equal rights and opportunities.

‘No government is stable without the support of women’ read one banner, referring to fears that the new government is unlikely to include women in leadership positions.