The Taliban have dissolved the Afghan Ministry for Women’s Affairs this Friday, and in its place have created the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, which will be in charge of the rigid implementation of Islamic norms and whose head will be Mohamad Khalid.
The Taliban will not allow Afghan women to play sports
At least three officials from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs have confirmed to Efe the suppression of the body in charge of promoting public policies and rights for women, ensuring that under the Taliban there is “no” ministry for women. “The Ministry of Women was abolished, the Taliban told us that there is no longer any ministry for women and that it becomes the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice,” Islamuddin, a former official, explained to Efe. of the defunct institution.
The elimination of this portfolio has been made official by the authorities of the Islamist Government with the installation of a new sign that reads: “Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.” Dozens of employees had come to their offices on Thursday to resume their work, but the Taliban “did not allow us to enter the ministry,” Islamuddin said.
“We thought they had changed”
The Ministry of Women’s Affairs was created in 2001 under the government of then-Afghan President Hamid Karzai as part of international efforts to address women’s issues. It had about 850 employees across the country.
During the last two decades, the institution’s mission was to develop policies, promote rights, eliminate violence and discrimination against women, as well as promote their active participation in the social and political life of Afghanistan.
“When the Taliban took power, we thought they had changed, but unfortunately we do not see changes in the opinions and actions of the Taliban,” Dadras, a former Ministry employee and women’s rights activist, told Efe. “The Ministry of Women was a voice for women in Afghanistan and in the world, but it was abolished and turned into another body that has nothing to do with women’s affairs and is a body that will punish the people,” she criticized. .
“We lost everything”
“Where is that international community that has been talking about women’s rights in the last 20 years? Today we are left behind and alone, nobody listens to us,” the activist lamented through tears.
For Dadras, the arrival of the Taliban, together with the exclusion of women from the Government and the loss of the ground gained in the last 20 years, leaves an uncertain path for the future of his daughters and the next female generations of Afghanistan. “Why doesn’t the international community support us? Women have lost everything, we have no one to support us,” she lamented.
Despite everything, some activists believe that these actions will not be able to silence the demands of women. “I do not know for how long we are going to witness the elimination of the identity and role of women. The Taliban must convince themselves that they will not be able to eliminate and silence women by eliminating a ministry,” the activist Basira Taheri. “I am sure that women will try to find a way out of this country,” he assured.
Vice and virtue
The Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice was already in the government of the first Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which was dissolved after its expulsion from power with the US invasion in 2001. Afghans still have bitter memories of this body. which, under the previous Taliban regime 1996-2001, was tasked with overseeing and implementing a harsh interpretation of sharia, Islamic law.
The members of the so-called “religious police”, dependent on that Ministry, beat men in the streets for listening to music, shaving, not praying, and women for not wearing a burqa or full veil or going out without a male partner. , father, husband or brother.