UN chief says situation in Afghanistan remains “deeply troubling”

Marking the two-year anniversary of the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has expressed concern about the situation in the country, particularly the restrictions imposed on women and girls.

In a Wednesday post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Guterres stated that the situation in Afghanistan, including the severe restrictions on the rights of women and girls, is “deeply troubling.”

“The international community must not forget the people of Afghanistan,” Guterres added.

Since returning to power in August 2021, the Taliban has banned girls from studying beyond primary school, banned women from working in most sectors, including for humanitarian organizations, and banned women from leaving home without a male guardian.

Despite significant pressure from human rights organizations, aid providers, and Islamic countries to lift these bans, the Taliban has continued imposing additional restrictions on women’s rights.

International human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International, highlighted that the Taliban treatment of women and girls could account for gender persecution of a crime against humanity and be characterized as gender apartheid.