Since the return of the Taliban to Kabul in August 2021, the Taliban’s systematic attacks on the rights of women and girls and the use of violence, including torture and other ill-treatment, and enforced disappearances, have created a culture of fear, and threatens to completely erase women and girls from public life in Afghan society. Despite their initial promise to respect women’s rights within the Islamic framework, women and girls’ rights have been under attack in deeply intertwined ways while they have also borne much of the burden of an ongoing economic crisis. These attacks on the rights of women and girls to education, work, free movement and peaceful assembly, and the enforced disappearances, and torture and other ill-treatment of women protestors and other rights violations have severely restricted the ability of women and girls to act freely in political, social and economic spheres.
Since the Taliban seized power in August 2021, the policies, regulations and decrees of the de facto authorities have denied and violated the human rights of women and girls in the country, including rights related to public participation, education, free movement, peaceful assembly and expression. Enforced disappearances, torture and other ill-treatment by members of the de facto authorities, along with economic and social conditions that directly undermine the rights of women and girls, ranging from a crumbling economy to increased rates of child, early and forced marriage, contribute to the challenges that women and girls face. This has been worsened, in part, due to some decentralized discretionary decisions and directives by Taliban leadership, the uneven enforcement of regulations and the random violence of Taliban officials and soldiers, all of which have contributed to a culture of fear where women and girls are afraid to act and participate even in the most ordinary aspects of daily life.