Afghanistan: Women, girls demand end to Taliban restrictions on World Population Day

Women’s protest in Kabul. File photo.

KABUL, Afghanistan — On World Population Day, women and girls in Afghanistan have called for the removal of restrictions imposed by the Taliban on their fundamental human rights.

The U.N. Special Trust Fund for Afghanistan reaffirmed its commitment on social media platform X, stating, “This World Population Day, we reaffirm our commitment to support Afghans in need, especially women and girls, to ensure no one is left behind.” The theme for this year’s World Population Day is “To leave no one behind, count everyone.”

The U.N.’s findings reveal that approximately 5.6 million Afghan migrants and refugees currently reside in 103 countries. According to the latest statistics published by the Afghan Statistics and Information Authority, now run by the Taliban, Afghanistan’s population was estimated at 34.9 million in March of this year, with 51 percent male and 49 percent female.

However, these population statistics are based on estimations rather than precise monitoring. Economists argue that the lack of accurate census data over the past two decades has contributed to the country’s humanitarian crisis.

“A country that doesn’t have accurate population information—such as the number of young, elderly, and children—cannot develop politically, economically, educationally, or scientifically,” said Sayed Masoud, a university instructor.

Economist Sayed Haroon Amini highlighted that the average population growth rate over the past decade has been 1.3 percent, a one percent increase above the standard rate. Coupled with a 40 percent decrease in gross domestic product over the past two years and rising poverty and unemployment, this has led to population inflation.

Afghanistan began its first population census in 1977, which estimated the population to be between 13 to 14 million over two years. However, the previous Afghan government considered the census results incomplete. Experts agree that accurate statistics on Afghanistan’s population remain unavailable.