Taliban announce decision on women’s rights: ‘Woman is not property, but a free person’

In Afghanistan, three and a half months after their return to power, the militant Islamist Taliban have stood up for respect for women’s rights. In a decision announced Friday, they ordered organizations, religious scholars, and elders to take serious steps to push through women’s rights. “A woman is not property, but a noble person and a free person,” the decision states.

Until now, Islamists had clearly scaled back women’s rights since taking power in mid-August.

To give away

However, the decree states that no one can force an unmarried woman or a widow into marriage. Nor should anyone provide women in exchange for peace or to end an animosity. In Afghanistan, it is more common for a woman to be given away as satisfaction, for example, during a family feud.

Widows are entitled to an inheritance, and to a dowry if they remarry. The decision also calls on two ministries and the judiciary to ensure that women’s rights are publicized and enforced.

All in all, the positions expressed in the text are not new and are in line with the rules of Islam. Afghan laws also guarantee these rights. Before the takeover by the Taliban, they were also often not observed. They often could not be enforced in court.

Education and work?

The decision is silent on women’s rights to education and work. Since the return of the Islamists to power, women are no longer able to work in many cases. Most girls’ high schools are closed. Street protests by activists were violently suppressed. Many of the activists fled the country.

Women’s protest in Kabul broken down by Taliban
Afghan women protesting

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