Afghanistan dispatch: unaccompanied women now banned from public transport
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Afghanistan dispatch: unaccompanied women now banned from public transport

Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation there after the Taliban takeover. Here, a law student in Kabul reports on the latest Taliban restriction of Afghan women’s rights and freedoms. 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.

From August 2021 to the present day, every single day, bit by bit, the life and liberty of Afghans are being chipped away, and Afghan women have it worse than everyone else. From girls’ schools being shut to female journalists and TV anchors being forced to mask their faces, the situation steadily deteriorates. Now, today, May 29, the Taliban have ordered that women are not allowed to use public transport if they are alone.

A Taliban official with the Ministry of Vice and Virtue made the announcement Saturday. The Taliban had previously decreed that women traveling inside or outside of the country had to be accompanied by a Mahram, that is a male relative that a marriage contract would not be possible with, such as a brother, father or a son.

In the course of the recent months, it has become quite clear that the Taliban authorities are using  women for personal and political purposes. Girls are hindered from education, healthcare, and employment and are forced to mask their faces at all time in public. The first goal of the Taliban with such a strict interpretation of Islamic scripture is to ensure that their foot soldiers in masses are reminded constantly that what they had been fed about Islam to provoke them against the former republic is being applied by the new Islamic Emirate. Pressuring and restricting women’s rights have proven useful in this regard, since women are generally associated with moral corruption and as test for sexual temptation in the eyes of Taliban. Secondly, by taking women hostage as a whole is designed to gain attention from the international community and force them to engage with them. The lack of a reasonable or at least intimidating option on the table from the international community that would compel the Taliban to back off has emboldened them and are now they are feeling themselves in a place in which there is no limit to their violation of human rights.