A new U.N. report has outlined how the Taliban in Afghanistan brutally enforces restrictions on women’s rights to work, education and freedom of movement.
The report, published by the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which covers October to December of 2023, says that officials from the Department for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice enforce strict compliance of the hijab and other dress requirements by visiting public places, offices and educational institutions, as well as establishing checkpoints to monitor the population under conditions of extreme fear.
According to a U.N. press release, Roza Otunbayeva, Special Representative of the Secretary General and head of UNAMA stated, “Enforcement measures involving physical violence are especially demeaning and dangerous for Afghan women and girls. . . . Detentions carry an enormous stigma that put Afghan women at even greater risk. They also destroy public trust.”
The Taliban’s increasing oppression of women is alarming the human rights community, and the lack of response from the international community leave many in Afghanistan feeling unheard.
“I think the international community is increasingly looking away and refusing to be aware of Taliban abuses,” Heather Barr, Women’s Rights Associate Director for Human Rights Watch, told Fox News Digital.
“There seems to be near total consensus in the international community that Taliban abuses against women and girls are unacceptable—and yet somehow this has not translated into anything resembling a coherent or urgent strategy to respond,” Barr added.
The report is ripe with chilling examples of the morality police instilling fear throughout the country with their pervasive implementation of a strict dress code and other morality laws imposed following the Taliban’s takeover in August 2021.
The Taliban prevents women from working or accessing public services if they are unmarried or do not have a mahram, or male guardian. The reports details three female healthcare workers who were detained because they were going to work without a male guardian. Women without a male guardian were also prevented from going to health care facilities to seek treatment. Officials from the department routinely make visits to hospitals and other public venues to enforce the law.
In early December, the report notes that Vice and Virtue ministry officials warned a woman who worked at a healthcare facility that she needed to be married or risk losing her job because it is inappropriate for an unmarried woman to work.
Taliban officials are also enforcing their April 2022 hijab decree, arresting and detaining women around Kabul and other cities for violating the public dress mandate. Women are generally released after several hours once a male relative signs a decree promising that their female relative will obey the decree.
“One of the things we have been very alarmed by in recent weeks is a wave of arrests of women and girls accused by the Taliban of ‘bad hijab,’” Barr said.
Barr believes that the Taliban’s crackdown continues to deepen, with no end in sight, and Afghan women and girls are seeing their lives become more difficult every day.
Some pro-democracy voices in Afghanistan are clamoring for greater U.S. and international assistance for the primary opposition against the Taliban, the National Resistance Front (NRF). So far, the calls for more involvement have fallen on deaf ears.
“The lack of international support for Afghan women in the National Resistance Front is bewildering,” Jazz Cannon, Afghan American, women rights activist and advocate for Vets4NRF, a group of American veterans pressuring policymakers to support the efforts of the NRF, told Fox News Digital.
“I know that the Taliban will not grant Afghan women our rights, and neither will President Biden. But I know who will, and that’s Ahmad Massoud and the NRF. They are fighting for our rights at this very moment,” Cannon added.
The NRF, led by Ahmad Massoud, remains the most formidable Afghan resistance unit fighting the Taliban and has vowed to continue the fight despite the impossible odds.
“It’s imperative for the international community and the people of Afghanistan to unite and support the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan in our crucial struggle to liberate our country from the Taliban’s terrorism and oppression, to prevent Afghanistan from descending into a path of destruction,” Ali Maisam Nazary, Head of Foreign Relations for the NRF, told Fox News Digital.