The Associated Press reported Friday that authorities in Afghanistan had announced a ban on forcing women to marry. It is estimated that attempts to ease policy towards women are related to the awareness of the Taliban government that violations of their rights result in the imposition of sanctions and the withdrawal of funds by the West.
The Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan since August this year, announced a ban on forcing women to marry, while declaring support for women’s rights. “Both (women and men) should be equal. Nobody can induce a woman to marry by force or pressure,” reads the regulation.
Afghanistan is hoping for funds to be restored by the West
The decision announced by Taliban Supreme Leader Hibatullah Achundzada was made at a time when poverty in Afghanistan was soaring. One of the main reasons for this is the suspension by foreign governments of the funds that have supported the Afghan economy for years.
It is estimated that attempts to ease policy towards women are related to the awareness of the Taliban government that violations of their rights result in the imposition of sanctions and the withdrawal of funds by the West. Forced marriage is becoming more common in Afghanistan as daughters are married off with money that can be used to pay off debts and feed families.
Often they are marriages of underage girls and even children. The new Taliban decree does not regulate the legal age for marriage. Previously, it was officially allowed to get married after turning sixteen.
The government in Kabul is relaxing its policy towards women
The Taliban now declares their opposition to the practice of exchanging women for money or to settle a dispute between feuding men. The government in Afghanistan has decided that the widow will be able to remarry when seventeen weeks have elapsed after her husband’s death and will have the right to choose a new spouse herself. Traditionally, a woman had to marry one of her brothers or relatives after her husband died.
Taliban leaders also reported that Afghan courts have been ordered to treat women fairly, especially widows seeking inheritance. The Taliban also say they have asked government ministers to spread awareness of women’s rights in society.
In Afghanistan, thousands of girls are still unable to attend school, and some women are unable to return to work due to the orders that the Taliban introduced shortly after taking power.
Main photo source: STRINGER / PAP / EPA