The extremist Islamist Taliban movement appears to have replaced the Afghan government’s Ministry of Women with a “Ministry of Virtues”. On Friday, workers placed a sign on the building of the former Ministry of Women, in reference to the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. This is the name of the authority that was responsible for the flogging of women during the first Taliban rule in the late 1990s.
You can see Ministry of Women employees on Twitter protesting their dismissal in front of the building in the capital, Kabul. The Taliban did not respond to an AFP investigation Friday into the incident.
When the first parts of their internationally unrecognized government were introduced two weeks ago, no women were among the officials, and none of those appointed had an explicit responsibility to protect women’s rights.
The new rulers have promised to respect women’s rights this time, unlike in the past. However, the Taliban have since ordered the women to stay home for their safety and not come to work until gender segregation can be enforced.
Banned from public life
During the first Taliban rule between 1996 and 2001, women in Afghanistan were largely banned from public life. They were only allowed to leave the house with their male relatives. If the woman is outside alone, she is flogged by employees of the Ministry of Virtue. At that time, the authority was also responsible for enforcing the obligation to pray and forbidding men from shaving.
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