Taliban rejects UN report on vice and virtue ministry

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid at a press conference in Kabul on July 3, 2024.

Taliban on Tuesday dismissed the findings of new United Nations report on activities of Taliban’s Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, calling the criticisms regarding the implementation of the Taliban leader’s decrees incorrect.

The report, which reviewed the ministry’s activities from August 15, 2021, to March 31, 2024, recorded 1,033 instances where Taliban decrees were enforced using coercion, including threats, arbitrary arrests, excessive force, and mistreatment.

Taliban described the ministry’s directives as “Islamic.”

In a statement, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid claimed that the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is attempting to assess Afghanistan “through a Western lens.”

He asserted that all people’s religious rights are being “secured” and that they treat everyone, including women, in accordance with “Sharia law,” which they implement as the governing laws.

The report also documented violent actions against followers of other sects, including Salafis and Shia Muslims, and the violent enforcement of stringent measures such as media restrictions, regulations on men’s grooming, compulsory hijab as mandated by the Taliban, and restrictions on women’s freedom of movement and work.

Cultural prohibitions, including bans on music and celebrations like Nowruz and Yalda Night, were also noted.