Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation there after the Taliban takeover. Here, a Staff Correspondent for JURIST in Kabul reviews several broad concerns about the new Taliban government that have arisen nationally and internationally since August. For privacy and security reasons, we are withholding our Correspondent’s name. The text has only been lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.
Establishment of an Inclusive Government
One the biggest ongoing debates since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan has been about the creation of an inclusive government in the country. This issue has had an impact in the daily lives of the Afghan citizens since the people wants to see their representatives in the Taliban-led government. Those who are selected to represent the Afghan people, in the cabinet, are either from their own group and/or have the same mentality as the Taliban leaders. So far, no change in the Taliban’s government has been made to convince the people as well as the international community that the government represents the people. The Taliban, on the other hand, claims that the government includes representatives from all tribes and they have no plan to change it further.
The Taliban’s Foreign Minister has declared that the cabinet will not be changed in the conceivable future. The Foreign Minister went even farther, claiming that their administration already represents all tribes and that this is appropriate in the country’s current situation. While delivering a recent speech in Antalya Diplomacy Forum he said that the winning team does not include any opposition in the governing team and it is a common practice around the world. What the Foreign Minister may not realize is that practically the entire top leadership of the Taliban-led administration is sanctioned or blacklisted by the United Nations and major economies.
Involvement of Women in the Government
The Taliban-led government lacks existence of women in it despite the fact that the international community has urged the Taliban to involve them in the government. The Taliban, however, have acted to the contrary. They have issued an order with respect to women working in grade one and two in the government agencies through which they instructed women to resign from their positions. According to that order, if women do not resign from their position, they will be terminated and replaced by men.
Currently, no women act in any of the government’s high-ranking positions. There are no woman judges or prosecutors and the number of women defense lawyers has been considerably decreased since August last year.
Not only this, but some other restrictions limiting women’s life in the country have been enforced. In particular, they are not allowed to travel without a male companion and their movement inside the big cities has been restricted. Recently, the United Nations has declared that if the Taliban want to be recognized they should respect women’s human rights, and in particular they should allow women to work and attend higher education studies. However, it seems that the Taliban government has no practical and honest commitment towards women in the country.
Human Rights Violations
There are many reports that the Taliban have been involved in many targeted killings in Afghanistan, especially involving military officials from the former government. These killings have been mainly in Panjshir, Takhar, Herat, Kandahar, Balkh, and some other provinces. The Taliban have killed at least six people in recent days in Herat province and hanged them in public, stating that those men were either members of the ISIS-K and/or criminals. No further investigations were conducted and no details were provided to the public concerning how those men were involved in criminal activities. The Taliban have also targeted civil activists and have made multiple unreasonable detentions.
The Taliban have also prevented people from leaving the country. Based on a letter to the airports and borders, Taliban soldiers heve been ordered to prevent exit of anyone who worked for the US/NATO in Afghanistan.