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Afghanistan, The Difficult Reality Under Taliban Regime

On the 4th of April, it had been issued a nationwide ban for Afghan women about working with the United Nations by de facto Taliban authorities extended their previous directives on allowed working places. This is the latest reduction in women’s rights in the country, following restrictions on females’ work for NGOs and access to secondary and third education.


Several female UN national staff in the country have already faced restrictions on their movements along with harassment, intimidation, and arbitrary detention. The UN has therefore asked all national staff - men and women - not to report to the office, until further notice. The Taliban ban is internationally recognised as illegal and cannot be accepted or respected by the United Nations.


Antonio Guterres, the chief of UN, will host May 1-2 in Doha the closed-door gathering featuring special envoys on Afghanistan from various countries who aim to "clarify expectations" on concerns including the Taliban's restrictions on women, according to his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric. It is not warrant at this stage whether or not Taliban leadership would be represented at the talks.


The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) later confirmed this new feature, according to which its female staff in Nangarhar province were prevented from reporting to work. This follows a ban on women working with NGOs, issued on December 24, 2022, and the extensive list of previous restrictions on women and girls enacted since the Taliban took over.


The women who have remained in Afghanistan are not giving up and continue to fight and make their voices heard against this social phenomenon which comes remarkably close to "apartheid", a gender segregation systematically implemented by the Taliban regime established on 15 August of 2021.


About 3,900 people work for the United Nations in Afghanistan, of whom 3,300 are nationals, and among these employees there are about 600 women, almost 400 of whom are Afghans.


The Taliban continue to deprive women of any right and in recent days they have also closed the Zan Library, which means "woman", therefore "the women's library", the last small light in Kabul, a place that still allowed women girls to inquire and read.


The Taliban regime introduced a dress code, required women to have a mahram to appear in public and banned women and girls from public parks, reserved for men only. Women who protested against these measures were imprisoned and, in many cases, were subjected to violence.


It seems absurd and paradoxical, but the story told to the microphones of Euro news is shared by many walls that enclose the abuses of violence and constraints. The government supports those who reduce them full of bruises rather than creating laws that can at least make them free and defensible.


Marwa is an Afghan woman, she is afraid to show herself, she has a thousand reasons to hide her face. Her ex-husband beat her for years, broke her teeth, smashed her hands. Although she dared to say enough to all that evil suffered and she managed to get a divorce, after a hell of abuse the devil comes back in front of her knocking on the door when the Taliban are back in power.


“One day we were at home when a vehicle suddenly arrived carrying my husband along with the Taliban. They said he said the divorce was forcibly obtained. He was not willing to divorce. They did not want to hear anything about my justifications. They asked me to show them the divorce papers. When I brought them, they tore up all the documents and said that I was lying and that the divorce was done by force and that government was corrupt."


Strict enforcement of sharia law by the Taliban has condemned hundreds of Afghan women to return to their captors. Marwa did, but she ran away with her children when she was again subjected to beatings and domestic violence. Not all of them have his firmness and determination to escape from a situation they have not chosen, and it is their right to find refuge in a healthy environment where they can feel safe.


Instagram imageWomen are considered less than zero but some resist and do not abandon their families and homes living in a totalitarian regime and in constant fear of these foreign masters who are in their interest and not that of the Afghan population. For the cities of Afghanistan, a leitmotif are the beautiful street art works of the professor at the largest university in Afghanistan (Kabul University) and activist Shamsia Hassani. Through her works, Shamsia portrays with metaphors, symbols, and pure art the Afghan women of which she represents in a society in which the male universe is completely predominant. Her works give Afghan women a different face, imbued with strength, ambition, and will achieve goals. The feminine character she instilled in her works illustrates a person who is proud, tenacious and can bring about positive changes in women's lives. people. She has motivated hundreds of people: Afghans have felt inspired and encouraged to show their creativity through graphic festivals, street art. As well as bringing colour and awareness to her home country, Hassani travels worldwide, challenging stereotypes about Muslim women and female artists. Her work has been shown in Afghanistan, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Iran, India, Norway, Switzerland, and Vietnam, where she has participated in conferences and workshops. Street art is the lifeline, the walls are visible for free by everyone, directly and immediately. The point of contact with European artists emerges strongly in her works, bringing the melancholy of a voiceless world. “Art changes people's minds and people change the world.” (Shamsia Hassani)


According to the World Food Programme (WFP) Afghanistan Situational recent report published on the 17th of April, in March, WFP provided specialized nutritious foods to prevent malnutrition to 1.2 million pregnant and breastfeeding women and children aged 6-59 months and to treat 387,746 women and children for existing cases of moderate acute malnutrition. In April, WFP has so far provided specialized nutritious foods to prevent malnutrition to 124,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women and children aged 6-59 months and to treat 118,000 women and children with moderate acute malnutrition.


Immediately after the Taliban assumed power, the Afghan economy collapsed, accelerating Afghanistan’s decade-long slide into poverty; with a population estimated by the UN at about 40 million and GDP of $14.3 billion in 2021, Afghanistan is among the countries with the lowest per capita income in the world, with around 85 per cent of the population estimated to be living below the poverty line. This scenery emerged from the Afghanistan Socio-Economic Outlook 2023, released by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), an overview of the fallout resulting from the takeover of Afghanistan by its present-day de facto rulers, the Taliban, in August 2021. There is no escape from poverty without women in the workplace. Surayo Buzurukova, the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Afghanistan, told UN News that the Taliban’s decision to highly restrict women’s ability to study and work is an important reason for the country's economic woes.


In the last twenty months, the Taliban authorities have issued a series of increasingly restrictive measures against women and have effectively tried to limit their participation in all aspects of the country's social, economic, and political life. By cutting the female population out of public life, Afghanistan risks aggravating the economic crisis and further isolating itself from the international community.


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