Afghan Women Voice Frustration on International Women’s Day Over Taliban Restrictions

On International Women’s Day, a group of female protesters gathered to celebrate privately and to express their grievances against the Taliban. They argued that the Taliban has failed to recognize the rights and status of women in society and that the current situation of women living under their rule is unacceptable. The protesters called on the international community to take decisive action to improve the dire circumstances of women in Afghanistan, and criticized the lack of response from the international community to the Taliban’s oppressive restrictions on women as evidence of their sexist attitudes.

On Sunday, the 4th of March, the Women’s Political Participation Network held a private gathering to emphasize their ongoing civil protests. Hasht-e-Subh obtained footage of the event at an undisclosed location. The female protesters in the video stated that as the world advances, the Taliban have taken the future and destiny of Afghan women and girls captive.

The female protesters have asserted that the international community’s lack of response to the Taliban’s restrictions on women is tantamount to backing their oppressive treatment of women, which is in violation of human rights. They have further warned that the current state of affairs in Afghanistan will have far-reaching consequences not only for the Afghan people, but also for the neighboring countries and the rest of the world.

The protesters in Afghanistan have expressed their exhaustion with the current situation and oppression in the country, and have called for immediate and serious action from the international community to address the human rights violations and crimes committed by the Taliban against Afghan women. The resolution also highlighted that, despite International Women’s Day being celebrated around the world, Afghan women have been denied their civil, citizenship and human rights for over 19 months.

At a separate meeting, the “Movement of Justice Women” urged the global community to take stronger action against the Taliban. The women stated that their aim was to prevent any covert support from the international community and to caution against recognizing the Taliban. They also asked the European Union and the United States of America to refrain from further contact with the Taliban until they abandon their violent and anti-feminist practices.

For the past 18 months, the Taliban have imposed strict restrictions on women in Afghanistan, including the closure of girls’ secondary and high schools, a ban on women working in several provinces, and a prohibition on women visiting amusement parks, public bathhouses, and hair salons, as well as travelling alone.

In his latest report, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Richard Bennett has highlighted the damaging effects of the Taliban’s misogyny. He noted an increase in the marriage of girls under 18 and the mental health issues they suffer as a result. The report also states that restrictions on women and girls, combined with humanitarian and economic crises, have driven people to resort to harmful practices such as forced and underage marriages. Bennett further claims that there are numerous cases linking despair and suicide among teenage girls who are barred from attending secondary and high schools across Afghanistan. This paints a picture of the Taliban’s rule having a detrimental impact on people’s mental health, particularly women and children.

In the past, senior officials from European, the U.S. and Asian countries, including Afghanistan’s neighbors, have expressed their concern about the difficult circumstances faced by women living under the Taliban’s rule. Despite repeated requests from women and foreign organizations, the Taliban have refused to allow girls to attend school.

Female protesters have been gathering in remote locations and chanting slogans against the Taliban, such as their lack of respect for freedom of speech and peaceful protests. The Taliban have frequently suppressed women’s demonstrations in favor of the right to work, the reopening of girls’ schools, and civil liberties. During women’s protests in Kabul, some have been arrested and abused in Taliban prisons. Additionally, the Taliban briefly detained some female students who were protesting in Herat province and released them after receiving promises from their families.