Conflicts & War

Taliban scrap women affairs ministry, replace with office of religious virtue

Kabul, Sep 17 (EFE).- The Taliban on Friday officially dissolved the Afghan Ministry for Women Affairs to replace it with the conservative Ministry of Vice and Virtue, which will oversee the implementation of hardline Islamic rules in the country

Taliban officials removed the sign from the former government department that oversaw women’s rights and replaced it with one that read: “The Ministry of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.” The move was harshly criticized by women activists.

At least three senior employees of the women affairs ministry confirmed to Efe that the former government department had been dissolved.

Dozens of employees on Thursday went to the ministry to resume their work but were prevented by the Taliban.

The Ministry of Women Affairs was created and established in 2001 under the interim government of former president Hamid Karzai as part of international efforts to focus on women affairs. It grew to have 850 employees in Kabul and other provinces.

Over the last 20 years, the ministry’s main aim was to develop polices, promote women’s rights, eliminate violence and discrimination against women and to empower women to participate in all aspects of life, including taking a meaningful part in the politics of the country.

“When the Taliban took over, we thought they had changed, but unfortunately we see no changes in the views and actions of the Taliban,” Dadras, a former employee of the ministry and women rights activist, told Efe.

“The women’s affairs ministry was a voice for women in Afghanistan and in the world, but it was abolished and converted to another organ which has nothing to do with women’s affairs and is a body which punishes the people.”

“What will happen to our daughters and the next female generations, why is the international community not supporting us, women lost everything, we have no one to support us,” she added.

Basira Taheri, a women rights activist, told Efe: “Taliban should be sure they can’t eliminate and silence women by eliminating the women’s ministry.”

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