Taliban replace women's government ministry with all-male 'virtue' ministry

The women's ministry in Afghanistan has been replaced with an all-male 'vice and virtue ministry' designed to enforce the Taliban's interpretation of Islam.

An Afghan woman passes by the building of former Ministry of Women Affairs which is now replaced with the conservative Ministry of Vice and Virtue.

An Afghan woman passes by the building of former Ministry of Women Affairs which is now replaced with the conservative Ministry of Vice and Virtue. Source: AAP

Afghanistan's Taliban rulers have replaced the women's ministry with an all-male "vice and virtue ministry" tasked with enforcing the group's rigid interpretation of Islam.

The move is the latest to harken back to the group's harsh 1990s rule that imposed deep restrictions on women.

The Taliban inside the new ministry said on Saturday they had not been informed about where or if a new women's ministry was being planned.

Also on Saturday, staff from the World Bank's $100 million Women's Economic Empowerment and Rural Development Program were escorted off the grounds.

A program member, Sharif Akhtar, who was escorted out with his staff, was at a loss to explain how or if the program could continue.

On Friday the UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution stressing that Afghanistan's new Taliban rulers need to establish an inclusive government with "the full, equal and meaningful participation of women and upholding human rights".

A sign board reading in Pashto 'The Ministry of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan' is installed on the building
Source: AAP

The resolution adopted by the UN's most powerful body extends the current mandate of the UN political mission in Afghanistan for six months.

It also stresses "the important role that the United Nations will continue to play in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan".

The resolution, drafted by Norway and Estonia, essentially delays a decision by the Security Council on a new mandate for the UN mission, known as UNAMA, until March 17, 2022, giving members time to assess the actions of the Taliban government in the coming months.

In a joint statement to the council, Norway and Estonia said the resolution "sends a unified message that we stand behind the UN's efforts in Afghanistan going forward".

The resolution ensures that the UN mission can continue to monitor and report on human rights, protecting civilians, violations and abuses against children, "and to support the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in all levels of decision-making".


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Published 19 September 2021 at 8:45am, updated 19 September 2021 at 10:24am
Source: AAP - SBS