EU’s Borrell condemns ‘awful dictatorship’ in Afghanistan, calls attention to ‘gender apartheid’

Speaking at an event in Brussels, Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, labeled the rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan as an “awful dictatorship” and highlighted the existence of “gender apartheid” in the country.

Borrell expressed concern that Afghanistan has seemingly disappeared from media coverage, emphasizing the prevalence of gender-based discrimination under the Taliban’s rule. He specifically referred to the situation as “gender apartheid,” noting that women and girls are being deprived of access to education, and the country is under the control of what he termed an “awful dictatorship.”

“In Afghanistan, you have a gender apartheid. Woman and girls are deprived from going to the schools, and an awful dictatorship is ruling the country,” Borrell stated during the event in Brussels.

For over two years, women and girls in Afghanistan have faced stringent restrictions imposed by the Taliban, affecting their education, employment opportunities, and subjecting them to social constraints.

Despite suppression of street protests, Afghan women opposed to Taliban policies continue to voice their dissent in small, indoor gatherings. During a recent protest, a group of girls lamented the removal of their identity by the Taliban, detailing their deprivation of basic rights and mental torture.

According to reports, at least four women’s rights activists—Zhulia Parsi, Neda Parwani, Manijha Sediqi, and Parisa Azada—are currently held in Taliban prisons. Their status and fate remain unclear. The latest Human Rights Watch report indicates that additional unnamed women’s rights activists and directors of underground schools are also in Taliban custody.

Farida Mohib, a women’s rights activist, called on the international community to stand by Afghan women in danger, urging pressure on the Taliban for the immediate release of detained girls.

The Taliban faces accusations of widespread human rights violations, particularly against women and girls. Independent institutions report not only violations of women’s rights but also the detention, mistreatment, and threats against protesting women, a stance consistently denied by the Taliban.