Female employees banned from working by Taliban - unless job can't be done by a man

19 September 2021, 14:50

Afghan girls have been prevented from returning to secondary schools.
Afghan girls have been prevented from returning to secondary schools. Picture: Alamy

By Elizabeth Haigh

Female employees in the Kabul city government have been told to only return to work if their job cannot be done by a man.

The interim mayor of Kabul, Mayor Hamdullah Namony, announced the latest restrictions on women in the capital on Sunday.

It comes a day after all Afghan girls were barred from being educated in secondary schools.

Mr Namony said that prior to the Taliban takeover there had been almost 3,000 female city employees, but that they had been ordered to stay at home pending a further decision.

The ban on women returning to work is the latest sign that the Taliban are enforcing a harsh interpretation of sharia Islamic law, a reversal of their earlier claims that they were a more tolerant regime.

Read more: Taliban ban girls from secondary education in Afghanistan

During the 1990s, the Taliban banned women and girls from schools, jobs and public life. They were only allowed to leave the house if accompanied by a male relative.

Under the US-backed government, women and girls had freedom to work and attend co-ed schools.

But the last few days have seen multiple decrees restricting Afghan women's rights, including banning girls from middle and secondary schools and enforcing segregated teaching for male and female university students.

Female university students were also told they must abide by a strict Islamic dress code.

Read more: Maajid Nawaz: 'Strategic' Afghan withdrawal made to focus on China

If girls are not allowed to return to school, they will be unable to attend university in the future.

On Friday, the Taliban shut down the Women's Affairs Ministry, replacing it with a ministry for the "propagation of virtue and the prevention of vice" tasked with enforcing Islamic law.

Elsewhere, Afghan women around the world have been posting images on social media in colourful clothing, in an apparent protest against the strict dress code for women enforced by the Taliban.

On Sunday just over a dozen women protested outside the former Women's Affairs Ministry, holding up signs calling for the female participation in public life.

"A society in which women are not active is [sic] dead society," one sign read.