Taliban Tell Afghan Women to Not Go to Work For Their Safety

Spokesperson says soldiers are ‘not trained’ to respect them.


Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said in a news conference on Tuesday, 24 August, that women should not go to work for their safety. This warning undermines the Taliban’s effort to convince the international community to be tolerant of women and admits that women are unsafe under the Taliban regime. 

According to Mujahid, the measure was necessary because the Taliban “keep changing and are not trained” and “it’s a very temporary procedure”. “We are worried our forces who are new and have not yet been trained very well may mistreat women,” Mr Mujahid said. “We don’t want our forces, God forbid, to harm or harass women.”

The last time the Taliban were in power between 1996 and 2001, the organization imposed a strict Islamic law that banned women from their workplaces, forced them to cover their entire bodies and stopped them from leaving home without the company of a man. The United Nations (UN) cited “credible” reports of abuses by the Taliban on the restriction on women, including beatings, torture and execution. 

Since their return to power, the Taliban promised rights for girls and women and some freedom of speech. The promise included that the new era will be more moderate, including allowing women to work and girls to attend school. Taliban leaders, however, refused to guarantee that women’s rights will not be stripped back. 

“They’re trying to look normal and legitimate, and this will last as long as the international community and the international press are still there. And then we’ll see what they’re really like again.” Heather Barr, the associate director of women’s rights at Human Rights Watch, said.

According to Barr, the Taliban made similar claims the last time they controlled Afghanistan. “The explanation was that the security was not good, and they were waiting for security to be better,” she said. “But of course in those years they were in power, that moment never arrived.”

The Taliban warned the US to hold up next week’s deadline to pull out of the country, stopping the evacuations of Afghans. The hectic Western evacuation operation at Kabul’s airport provided only a mere opportunity for many Afghans to escape the country in recent days. 

Even before the Taliban retook control, more than 550,000 people had been forced to flee their homes this year due to fighting, according to the UNHCR.


Next up, Taliban Takeover: What Does This Mean for Afghan Women?