Photo: UNICEF Afghanistan

UNICEF: The Taliban’s restrictions on women and girls’ have ‘crushed hopes and dreams’

In a recently published report, UNICEF in Afghanistan has highlighted the devastating impact of the Taliban’s bans on women and girls’ education and working as aid workers.

According to UNICEF, over a million girls are being prevented from secondary schools and the Taliban’s ban on women working as aid workers have severely hampered humanitarian efforts.

The report also found that the ban has had a disproportionate impact on women and girls, who are now more vulnerable to violence, exploitation, and abuse.

UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell called the Taliban’s decision “unjustified and shortsighted” that had crushed the “hopes and dreams of more than one million girls, and marks another grim milestone in the steady erosion of girls’ and women’s rights nationwide.” She urged the Taliban to lift the bans immediately.

The report says that “The ban on female NGO workers impacted Gender Based Violence (GBV) service provision and some women’s and girls’ safe spaces (WGSS) remained closed, and female social workers were restricted from providing services.”

In a separate report in April, UNICEF said that Taliban’s restrictions on girls’ education had led to a 25 per cent rise in child marriages.

The report comes as the Taliban faces increasing international pressure to reverse its decision on girls’ education. But the group has defended the bans and accused critics of interfering in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.