Taliban replace women’s ministry with ‘virtuety’ department

The Taliban have housed the new Ministry of Virtue in the building that until recently housed a women’s affairs department. The ministry in the capital Kabul must ensure the “spreading of virtue and prevention of sin”.

International news agencies write that the building was evacuated earlier today; employees of the World Bank, among others, would have been sent away.

The staff worked on a special financial development program for women. Women working for the ministry told Reuters news agency that they had been trying to go to work in recent weeks but were kept being sent home.

Girls don’t go to school

The United Nations has called on the Taliban to respect the rights of women and minorities. UN agency UNESCO has also said that Afghan girls should be able to return to education as soon as possible. If schools for girls remain closed, it will have “irreversible consequences” for half of the Afghan population, the education organization warned.

UNESCO responded to an earlier announcement by the Taliban that “all male teachers and students” can return to secondary school, without mentioning female students or teachers.

When the extremist group seized power in Afghanistan last month, they pledged that women in the country would retain basic rights such as access to education. But Afghan women’s activists point out that the Taliban are failing to keep those promises. They fear that the group wants to reintroduce the restrictive policies of the 1990s.

Demonstrations

Afghan women’s rights activists have taken to the streets several times since the United States left the country. During those demonstrations, they called on the Taliban, among other things, to appoint female ministers and to guarantee women’s rights. The demonstrations were broken up violently.

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When the Taliban took power in the 1990s, they banned girls from going to school. Women were also not allowed to work outside the home.

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