Taliban say right to work for women not violated, condemn UN accusations
On Tuesday, Taliban authorities reacted angrily to UN claims that they are denying Afghan women the right to work, despite the fact that thousands of them are engaged in the government.
However, because offices were not set up for effective sex segregation, Sharafuddin Sharaf, head of staff at the ministry of labour and social affairs, told AFP that many women were getting paid despite not showing up for work.
"Working together in one office is not possible in our Islamic system," he stated, a day after a United Nations rights expert claimed that since the Taliban's return to power in August of last year, there has been a "staggering regression" in women's rights.
Although Sharaf was unable to provide a number, she asserted that "not a single female employee has been fired" from the civil service.
However, there have been a number of demonstrations by women seeking the right to work and protesting the loss of their jobs, some of which the Taliban violently put an end to.
According to Sharaf, some women "once a week to their relevant offices to sign their attendance, and their salaries are paid at their homes."
He noted that this occurs in workplaces where "gender-based segregation is yet to be done" and that women were employed in the interior, health, and education ministries, all of which have a need for them.
However, the majority of girls' secondary schools nationwide have been ordered to close, so this generation of female university students may be the last.
Many Taliban leaders claim the restriction is merely temporary, but they have also rolled out a vast list of justifications for the closures, ranging from a lack of resources to the time required to redesign the curriculum in accordance with Islamic principles.
Local media reported on Monday that the education minister claimed it was a cultural issue because many rural residents did not want their daughters to go to school.
To conform to their conservative interpretation of Islam since gaining power, the Taliban have placed severe restrictions on girls and women, virtually excluding them from public life.
The ministry of women's affairs was promptly abolished, and it was quickly replaced by the ministry for the encouragement of virtue and the suppression of vice.