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Protesting women in Balkh urge Taliban to respect the basic rights of women and girls

Women’s rights activists in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, have criticized the Taliban’s restrictions on women and girls and called on the group to reopen schools and universities for women and girls across Afghanistan.

In a gathering on Wednesday, marking the second anniversary of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, the activists said that Islam does not prohibit women from education or work and that the Taliban should end the deprivation of women and girls from these basic rights.

The activists also said that women and girls in Afghanistan have faced discrimination in the past two years and have been the victims of the Taliban’s restrictive policies, which have isolated them from social spheres.

They called on the Taliban to respect the basic rights of women, including the right to education and work.

The Taliban previously confined women to their homes during their first rule in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

After returning to power in August 2021, the group implemented a ban on girls attending secondary schools in September of the same year. In December 2022, the Taliban expanded its restrictions, prohibiting women and girls from accessing university education and from working for NGOs.

Despite significant pressure from human rights organizations, humanitarian aid providers, and Islamic countries to lift the bans, the Taliban has continued to impose further restrictions on women’s rights. In addition to the ban on education and working for NGOs, the group has prohibited women from visiting amusement parks, traveling without a mahram (male guardian), and attending public baths.