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Afghan women face ‘gender apartheid’ under Taliban: Former parliamentarian

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KABUL, AFGHANISTAN- An Afghan family rushes to the Hamid Karzai International Airport as they flee the Afghan capital of Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 16, 2021. (Haroon Sabawoon - Anadolu Agency)
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Sep 12, 2022 - 10:58 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AA) – Women in Afghanistan are facing “gender apartheid” one year after the Taliban takeover of the country, said a former Afghan parliamentarian on Monday.

Women and girls have been deprived of their rights, including the right to education, and disappeared from the public under the Taliban rule, Afghanistan’s de facto authorities.

Thousands have lost their jobs or were forced to resign, both in government institutions and in the private sector since the Taliban made a return to power on Aug. 15 last year.

Girls have been prevented from attending middle and high school.

“Time clearly proves that the erosion of women’s rights has been one of the most notable aspects of the Taliban administration to date, and that African women are experiencing one of the world’s biggest human rights crisis,” Naheed Farid, who fled the country after the Taliban seized the control, told a press conference at the UN headquarters.

“What is happening in Afghanistan… is a gender apartheid,” she said.

Afghan women are choosing to take their lives out of hopelessness and despair, said Farid, adding: “Death is preferable for them than living under the Taliban regime”.

Farid appealed to the international community to demand the full rights of Afghan women and girls as a non-negotiable starting point for all negotiations with the Taliban.

She also called for a platform for Afghan women to directly negotiate with the Taliban on women’s rights and human rights.

At the press conference, Afghan human right activist Najiba Sanjar, for her part, said 17 million Afghan girls and women are “experiencing an extremely unique dilemma in human history.

“We are all watching the suffering of women and girls, and minorities from the screens of our TVs as if an action movie is going on,” Sanjar added.

Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan last year on Aug. 15 as officials of the US-backed Kabul administration fled the country and foreign forces withdrew.

Taliban’s takeover of the government, followed by the disruption of international financial assistance, has left the worn-torn country in economic, humanitarian and human rights crises.

Many Afghan women have demanded their rights be reinstated by taking to the streets, protesting, and organizing campaigns.

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