During the past five decades, Afghanistan has experienced various forms of governance amidst wars, yet concerns regarding women’s rights have persisted, particularly under the Afghan Taliban or the Islamic Emirate rule.

With the recent return of the Islamic Emirate, reports from across the nation have highlighted complaints regarding women’s rights violations, especially concerning young girls, and the imposition of restrictions upon them.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has presented a report to the General Assembly concerning the security situation and the infringement of fundamental human rights in Afghanistan, expressing deep-seated apprehension on this matter.

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According to UNAMA’s report, by the conclusion of 2023, girls in certain regions of Kabul, Bamiyan, Baghlan, Balkh, Daikundi, Ghazni, and Samangan provinces have been subjected to the April 25, 2022, Hijab Decree, with instances of police apprehension for alleged violations. Notably, numerous women and girls were detained for several hours in Kabul city.

The UNAMA report released on December 14 underscores the absence of a clear legal framework addressing gender-based violence against women and girls in Afghanistan. UNAMA’s head, Roza Otunbayeva, has urged Afghan authorities to alleviate restrictions on women and girls, warning of the potential consequences of further impoverishment and isolation for the nation.

Commenting on the situation, Haq Nawaz, a senior journalist and analyst specializing in Afghan affairs, highlights the heightened challenges faced by Afghan women since the Taliban’s resurgence. With the closure of girls’ schools nationwide, assurances of reopening educational institutions remain unfulfilled, casting uncertainty over the future of Afghan girls’ education and employment opportunities.

Dr. Irfan Ashraf, a professor at Peshawar University, emphasizes that the Taliban, as the ruling authority, should address these issues from a humanitarian rather than a strictly religious standpoint. While acknowledging internal complexities, he advocates for a political resolution to these challenges, stressing the need for inclusive policies that prioritize women’s education and rights.

The reluctance of the Afghan government to prioritize women’s education and uphold human rights has stirred international concern, particularly among Western nations. Despite efforts to establish a democratic system during the two-decade-long conflict, the desired outcome remains elusive, raising questions about the efficacy of the intervention.

Responding to the joint UN report on the status of women in Afghanistan, Islamic Emirate spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid dismissed the findings as politically motivated. Mujahid asserted that such reports undermine the government’s progress and diplomatic relations, refuting claims of women’s rights violations and labeling the reports as unfounded conspiracies.