The setback in women’s and girls’ rights in Afghanistan since the arrival of the Taliban is becoming more and more noticeable. In recent days, the insurgents had already announced that it was forbidden to listen to music in cars or that women had to go with the jihad. Now, it has been made official that women are not allowed to leave their homes more than 70 kilometers away, and should otherwise be accompanied by a man who is a close family member, be it husband, father or brother.

The “recommendation” was issued by the Ministry of the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. In the first Taliban government, the Taliban already forced women to wear the burka, that they could not leave the house without a man and even that they could not study or work. In August, after the seizure of Kabul, they promised that they would not go to that extreme, although it is gradually proving that they were lying.

Respect for women’s rights is one of the conditions imposed by international donors for the return of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, which is on the verge of economic collapse. The UN warned of an impending avalanche of hunger, as more than half of the Afghan population may suffer an acute lack of food this winter.

The UN Office for Human Rights denounced last week that the Taliban regime has executed at least 72 people linked to the former government and its security forces, despite the general amnesty it promised. At least 50 others extrajudicially executed were members of the Afghan branch of the Islamic State, whose recent abuses against civilians were also condemned by the UN office. The international body denounced the brutal methods of torture and execution, as well as some bodies being publicly displayed.

Women were soon banned from the media and from holding positions in the administration, and were also forbidden to take part in everyday matters such as going anywhere alone or having a cell phone. The international community has subordinated any kind of collaboration and humanitarian aid to respect for human rights, especially those of women and girls, given the possibility that they may not be allowed to work or study.

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