Afghanistan: Women assert rights to education, dress amid Taliban actions

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A group of Afghan women has emphasized their fundamental rights to education and personal dress choices following recent Taliban arrests of women and girls for “not observing the required hijab,” as reported by independent sources in Kabul and the United Nations.

Activists accuse the Taliban of trying to “masculinize” society and marginalize women and girls. Husna, a student, stated, “Our education, university attendance, and choice of clothing are our inalienable rights, and no one can restrict these.”

The UN noted that several women and girls were detained in Kabul’s Dasht-e-Barchi, Taimani, and Khairkhana areas for hijab violations.

According to women’s rights activists, these arrests have severely restricted women’s and girls’ freedom, even for essential needs. “Girls are confined to their homes, stepping out only for necessities. The Taliban’s actions have coerced families into ensuring their daughters remain indoors,” said Raheel Tehseh, a women’s rights advocate.

Mozhgan Feraji, another activist, views these arrests as efforts to erase women’s and girls’ societal presence. “The only rationale behind these frequent detentions is to instill fear and strip away the limited social participation of women in Afghanistan,” she commented.

A Kabul resident suggested that the Taliban’s aim is to reestablish the extremist and patriarchal society of their previous regime. “Suppressing women is a key strategy for the Taliban to achieve their goals,” the resident said.

Despite these developments, the Taliban’s crackdown has extended to women protestors, with individuals like Manizha Siddiqui still detained.