Taliban accuse s UN of spreading ‘propaganda’ against them

The Taliban on Tuesday accused the United Nations and Western governments and organizations of spreading “propaganda” that does not reflect the realities of the situation in Afghanistan.

Responding to the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Richard Bennett’s report on Afghanistan in Geneva on Monday, the Taliban’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that “Islamic laws are under implementation in Afghanistan, objecting to them is a problem with Islam.”

“The United Nations and some Western institutions and governments are spreading propaganda against the Islamic Emirate (Taliban); Richard Bennett’s report on the situation in Afghanistan is a part of such propaganda which does not reflect the realities,” Mujahid tweeted.

His reaction comes a day after Bennett presented his joint report, with colleagues, on the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan, stating the Taliban’s treatment of women could amount to gender apartheid as their rights continue to be gravely infringed upon by the country’s de facto authorities.

“Grave, systematic and institutionalized discrimination against women and girls is at the heart of Taliban ideology and rule, which also gives rise to concerns that they may be responsible for gender apartheid, a serious human rights violation, which although not yet explicitly an international crime, requires further study,” the report said.

“Women and girls in Afghanistan are experiencing severe discrimination that may amount to gender persecution – a crime against humanity – and be characterized as gender apartheid, as the de facto authorities appear to be governing by systemic discrimination with the intention to subject women and girls to total domination,” the report stated.

The rights experts also expressed their grave concern about the absence of legal protections for women and girls and the “normalization” of discrimination and violence against them.

“Women and girls have no recourse to justice, and very limited access to female lawyers, who have not been issued licenses unlike their male colleagues,” they said. 

The report also revealed that women and girl victims of gender-based violence are being sentenced to “atrocious physical and psychological suffering, with limited access to any protection resources, such as shelters.”

The experts said that they received reports that women who report violence to the Taliban police are told that they “should not complain”, that they “probably deserved being beaten” and that “such matters are private and should remain within the family.”

“Within this context, domestic violence, forced and child marriage, sale of children and body organs, child labor, trafficking, and unsafe migration have all increased. Urgent intervention is necessary to reverse this trajectory,” the experts added.

The report highlighted that girls and women were prohibited from attending school above grade six and can only be provided care by female doctors. “Unless the restrictions are reversed rapidly, the stage may be set for multiple preventable deaths that could amount to an evolving femicide,” the report said.