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Secondary schools have reopened for boys but remain closed to the vast majority of girls. Women are banned from most employment; the Taliban government added insult to injury by saying women in their employ could keep their jobs only if they…
Taliban violations of the rights of women and girls are uniquely extreme. No other country openly bars girls from studying on the basis of gender.
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It Matters when the UN, Governments, and Aid Agencies Send Only Men to Talk to the Taliban

What do Turkmenistan and UNICEF have in common? How about the United Kingdom and the UNDP, and at least nine other countries and four other humanitarian and development organizations? They all appear to…
Taliban Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, center, meets with Sir Simon Gass, the British prime minister's high representative for Afghan transition, left, at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, October 5, 2021.
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Report by Human Rights Watch Associate Director for Women’s Rights, Heather Barr

The plight of Afghan women under the Taliban was used in many countries to convince voters to support the US-led military intervention in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks on the US. “Only the terrorists and the Taliban forbid education to women,”…
Women gather to demand their rights under Taliban rule during a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 3, 2021.
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Situation Worsening Every Day

There is no better symbol for the disappearance of women’s rights in Afghanistan than the end of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the return of the Ministry for Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. When the Taliban on September 7 announced…
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In the first Taliban news conference after the group regained control of the Afghan capital, Kabul, Taliban spokesperson, Zabiullah Mujahid sought to reassure women. “Our sisters, our men have the same rights,” he said. But Afghan women know the…
Women gather to demand their rights under Taliban rule during a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 3, 2021.
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Now that evacuations from Kabul’s airport have ended and the last foreign troops have gone, the focus shifts to the long-term human rights crisis in Afghanistan. The issue is what life will be like in Afghanistan—especially for women and girls—and what…
Women gather to demand their rights under Taliban rule during a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 3, 2021.
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Time is running out for tens of thousands of Afghans trying to flee the Taliban after their takeover of the country.  President Joe Biden stated on Friday that military forces stationed at Kabul airport have a “mission to…
Afghan families get off the Spanish military plane at the Torrejón de Ardoz military base in Madrid. The flight that left Kabul was carrying five Spaniards and 48 Afghan refugees, including 10 minors. 
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In a news conference on Tuesday, the first since the Taliban gained control of the Afghan capital, Kabul, the official Taliban spokesperson, Zabiullah Mujahid sought to reassure women. “Our sisters, our men have the same rights,” he said. “They are…
Women walking Nadir Khan Overlooking Kabul womens rights us withdrawl
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Now that the Taliban are back, what does that mean for women's rights?

“But can we trust the Taliban on women’s rights?” has been a favorite question of journalists in recent years. The answer used to be “no”; the answer now is that it doesn’t matter much. The Taliban have swept back to power, and dealing with them…
A painted mural with Arabic writing on a building
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Issue XV: The impact of COVID19- on women and girls’ education

UN Women, UNICEF and Human Rights Watch jointly issue this fifteenth alert to continue to highlight the gender specific impact of COVID-19 in Afghanistan. This alert focuses on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls’ education and the…
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This is a moment of both fear and hope for Afghan women — and an urgent time for the world to support their hard-won rights. The Feb. 29 deal between the US and the Taliban could pave the way for a peace that Afghans desperately seek.…
Women walk along a street in the old part of Kabul February 29, 2020.
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(London/Washington D.C.)  -- “I never come here, just because of boys,” Atifa says, pointing at the door of the stall. “They’re opening the door.” Atifa, a sixth grader in Kabul, Afghanistan, attends a school of 650 girls. Since they study in tents…
Girls in Afghanistan -- And everywhere else -- Need toilets
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“My sister finished the first year at school, but then she got tired and decided to leave. She walked four hours each way every day, so that made her tired,” Sabina, 12, who grew up in rural Balkh province, said. Sabina was able to study starting at age…
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It’s been a funny week. I’m in Kabul, Afghanistan, launching a new Human Rights Watch report I wrote about the lack of progress in girls’ education in Afghanistan. But in between meetings, in the back of a dusty Corolla, stalled at security checkpoints, I…
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For nine years, I have watched as donors have come together every couple of years to discuss how much they are prepared to invest in Afghanistan’s future. The latest donor conference both surprised and depressed me. Aid funds are still rolling in, but the…
DATE IMPORTED:October 05, 2016(Front Row L-R) Afghanistan's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, President Ashraf Ghani, European Council President Donald Tusk, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, U.S.
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Urge to Press the Government for Action Is Long Gone

“This is not a side event. This is the main event,” several speakers said at the – yes – side event on women’s empowerment the day before the October 5 donor conference on Afghanistan in Brussels. The donor session, for all its warm glow, highlighted the…
DATE IMPORTED:October 05, 2016(Front Row L-R) Afghanistan's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, President Ashraf Ghani, European Council President Donald Tusk, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, U.S.
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Gales of laughter greeted my question: “So, which is worse, ISIS or the Taliban?” I was speaking to a room full of women who had recently fled areas in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province controlled by groups claiming allegiance to the…
An Afghan woman in Chaghchran capital of Ghor province June 2, 2014.
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As rumors swirl about a new round of peace talks with the Afghan Taliban, the first under Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, women are fighting for a place at the table. The view from the front lines of that fight is maddening. Ghani has made…