Afghanistan’s ministry of women’s affairs has ceased to exist since Friday. The Taliban closed the ministry, replacing it with a ministry to promote virtue and prevent vice, reports the Reuters agency. Under the previous Taliban rule, this institution acted as a moral police, upholding the radical interpretation of Sharia.
According to Reuters, the sign on the building that previously housed the women’s ministry has been removed and replaced with a new one that reads, “Ministry of Prayer and Presidency, and the Promotion of Virtues and Prevention of Violence.”
The women who worked in the building so far have not been allowed in for several weeks. – I am the only breadwinner of the family – said one of the former workers. – When there is no job, what should an Afghan woman do? she wondered.
Taliban spokesmen have yet to comment on the matter.
On guard of morality
Reuters recalls that when the Taliban was in power from 1996 to 2001, girls were banned from going to school and women were banned from work and education. The then-operating ministry of virtue promotion and vice prevention became known as the Taliban moral police, imposing an interpretation of Sharia, which included a strict dress code and public executions and flogging.
The cabinet positions list, announced by the Taliban on September 7, included the name of the minister of virtue promotion and vice prevention and made no mention of the women’s ministry, but the Taliban did not report at the time that the ministry would be dissolved.
As Reuters said earlier this week, a high-ranking Taliban leader announced that women would not be allowed to work in ministries alongside men.
Main photo source: Kursat-bayhan / Shutterstock