Afghanistan dispatches: female civil servants to be fired and replaced by men in new Taliban decree
ErikaWittlieb / Pixabay
Afghanistan dispatches: female civil servants to be fired and replaced by men in new Taliban decree

JURIST EXCLUSIVE – Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation there after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban. Here, a lawyer in Kabul offers his observations and perspective on a new Taliban decree relating to civil servant recruitment which overtly discriminates against women, requiring termination of existing female employees of the Afghan government and prohibiting their future hiring. For privacy and security reasons we are withholding our correspondent’s name and institutional affiliation. The text has been only lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.

The Taliban have issued a decree through which they have imposed some new procedures on the recruitment of the civil servants in Afghanistan. This attempt shows how laws, regulations, procedures, and guidelines will be changed in the country ONLY to push out women from being in any professional environment. This actually also means that the legislation will be implemented based on gender differentiation in the country.

In Afghanistan, the existing Civil Servants Law regulates affairs related to the recruitment of government employees. This decree forces agencies not to consider a significant part of this specific law.

The decree is signed by the Head of the Cabinet/PM and has four articles. The decree is dated two days ago and surprisingly it is numbered 256. This means that there are 255 other decrees as well.

Looking into this decree, it starts by saying that because male member of families are required to provide necessaries for the family (nafaqa in Arabic), this decree is issued to provide more employment opportunities to males.

Here are the key articles in the decree:

Article 1: The Civil Servants Commission is obligated to privilege males with an extra 20 points in their exams and this should be regulated in the relevant procedures.

Article 2: All female employees who worked in grades 1, 2, and 3 shall resign so that they can be replaced by males. In the event that they do not resign, the Human Resources Offices of the concerned administration shall prepare their termination and send it to Head of the Cabinet and or to the relevant minister and head of that office accordingly.

Article 3: The Civil Servants Commission shall not consider Section 2 of the Paragraphs 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the Article 8 of the existing Civil Servants Law.

(My own note): The above paragraphs articulate the conditions of person[s] who shall be recruited in grades 1, 2, and 3 of the Government/state positions. Previously, there was no gender differentiation but now as you see the law shall be changed only to add some requirements that female cannot be hired in those positions.

Article 4: After approval of this Decree, females cannot be recruited in grades 1, 2, and 3 of the government administration.

The above impositions are clearly in contradiction to the Afghan Constitution as well as other legislation in the country, and the Taliban deem this decree as legislation. But right now they have no capacity to work and establish new legislation. I believe what they will do is that, in the current legislation, they will only change the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and then they make the changes they want such as above. This is my thought because in their first regime they did the same thing. However, there is no official confirmation from them to say if the existing law will remain and if there will be a new legal system.

I have three sisters who all have higher education and when I read this to them they were disappointed and one of them even cried.