Women's rights under Taliban in sharp focus in Afghanistan

The Taliban's engagement with global bodies will depend upon ensuring that women's rights are secured in Afghanistan, several world leaders have highlighted in recent weeks.

Mohammad Naciri, UN Women Regional Director for the Asia Pacific, was quoted by 'Pajhwok Afghan News’ as saying: "Women's rights must be the litmus test for our collective engagement with the Taliban."
He added: "As the Taliban seeks to establish a new normal, the international community must be unified and clear on what our common lines for engagement are. The first must be participation.

"The second must be guaranteed access to healthcare. Thirdly, women must be allowed to work in any field of their choosing and participate fully in public life, including in the delivery of humanitarian assistance."

Over the weekend, the Taliban broke up a demonstration by dozens of women in Kabul, with the protesters saying they were targeted with tear gas. The Taliban had announced its "Islamic Emirate" cabinet of 33 ministers in its caretaker government, with no women representative in the decision-making process.
The entire support infrastructure for women who have experienced violence has collapsed overnight, from the courts and the government-run Family Response Units to shelters and safe houses, said Naciri.

Meanwhile, following the recent media reports that women's cricket will not be supported in Afghanistan, Cricket Australia has said it will have to rethink playing a Test match against the men's team if the women's team is not allowed to play.

The International Cricket Council (ICC), the governing body of the sport, said it is monitoring the changing situation in Afghanistan and the board will discuss the impact this might have on the continued development of the game in the country.

“The ICC has been monitoring the changing situation in Afghanistan and is concerned to note recent media reports that women will no longer be allowed to play cricket. This and the impact it will have on the continued development of the game will be discussed by the ICC Board at its next meeting," an ICC official spokesperson said.


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