Taliban regime replaced signs for the country's Ministry for Women in Kabul with those for "Ministries of Prayer and Guidance and the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice". (Representational Image)
In brazen move to crush women’s rights, the Taliban regime on Friday replaced signs for the country's Ministry for Women in Kabul with those for "Ministries of Prayer and Guidance and the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice" on Friday which is expected to give a bigger role the Islamist militants moral police.
A sign for the building was covered by a replacement in a mixture of Dari and Arabic, reading "Ministries of Prayer and Guidance and the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice" on Friday, photographs showed.
Female employees said they had been trying to come to work for several weeks but were told to go back home, many videos filmed outside the building show.
The gates of the building were finally locked on Thursday, a Reuters report cited one of the women as saying.
Also read: Taliban omits Ministry for Women, UN body says it’s a violation of international treaty
"I am the only breadwinner in my family," said a second woman, who also said she worked in the department. "When there is no ministry, what should an Afghan woman do?"
During the earlier Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001, its Ministry for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice was used to enforce the strict Islamic Sharia law that included a stringent dress code with women having to wear a burqa. Public executions and floggings and amputation of limbs were among the other punishments meted out in accordance with the Islamic law.
Also girls were not allowed to attend school and women were not permitted to work. They were also not allowed to step out of their homes unless they were accompanied by a male family member.
Although this time around some Taliban spokespersons have been saying that women will be allowed to pursue higher studies and the law would be more accommodative. However, these are turning out to be a mere façade as the Taliban desperately seeks world aid in a collapsing economy. Their actions on the ground deny women basic human rights.
UN Women, the United Nations entity for gender equality, had earlier criticised the Taliban’s decision to drop the Ministry for Women from among the institutions of government in Afghanistan.
Pramila Patten, the acting head of UN Women, had said in a statement : “Such ministries are found around the world and reflect governments’ commitment to ensure respect for women’s human rights. To no longer have such a ministry in Afghanistan is a further step backwards.”
She had called on the “Taliban leadership to fully comply with its legally binding obligations under international treaties to which Afghanistan is party as well as with relevant constitutional provisions.”