Jawzjan women banned from getting SIM cards and visiting internet clubs

File photo.

A number of Afghan women have raised their voices over the Taliban’s restrictions on them in the northern Jawzjan province of Afghanistan, stating women cannot get mobile phone SIM cards without Mahram, a male guardian.

They stated that the Taliban have also banned women from visiting internet cafe to apply for jobs and scholarships.

The Taliban vice and virtue staff are patrolling the city to monitor people and “violently” demanding women to not leave home without a male guardian.

Basira, a female student who wanted to apply for a Turkish scholarship to continue her studies, stated that the Taliban would not allow her to enter an internet cafe on Sunday.

“I graduated [from school] two years ago but I face uncertainty. I am not even allowed to go to an educational center. They don’t allow girls to go to the internet club and to apply for the scholarship,” she said.

Shabana, whose husband went to Iran to work and support his family, traveled from her village to Sheberghan city to buy a SIM card. The Taliban, however, did not allow her to purchase one because she was not escorted by her Mahram.

“The Taliban did not allow me to buy a SIM card from Etisalat agency. I had to go to my sister’s house and visit again with my nephew, who is a 15-year-old boy, to buy a SIM card,” she added.

Meanwhile, Internet cafes in Jawzjan province said that the Taliban have told them to stop women from entering their shops to use the internet.

They said this will severely affect their business.

Around 15 Internet cafes and agencies of Afghan telecom companies operate in Sheberghan city, where women are prohibited from getting telecom services without a male guardian.

The Taliban have also ordered taxi drivers in the city not to give female passengers a ride without Mahram.

The Taliban’s vice and virtue employees are also patrolling the city, to make sure women wear a burqa. They also threaten women not to move around the city without a male relative.