The supreme leader of the Taliban has claimed his government has taken the necessary steps for ”the betterment of women’s lives” in Afghanistan, where women are banned from public life and work and girls’ education is severely curtailed.
The statement from Hibatullah Akhundzada was made public on Sunday, June 25, ahead of the Eid al-Adha holiday, which will be celebrated later this week in Afghanistan and other Islamic countries.
In his Eid message, he said that under the rule of the Islamic Emirate, concrete measures have been taken to save women from many traditional oppressions, including forced marriages, ‘and their Shariah rights have been protected’.
Moreover, ‘necessary steps have been taken for the betterment of women as half of society in order to provide them with a comfortable and prosperous life according to the Islamic Shariah’, his message added.
The message was distributed in five languages: Arabic, Dari, English, Pashto, and Urdu. Mr. Akhundzada said the negative aspects of the previous 20-year occupation related to women’s wearing of the hijab and ‘misguidance’ will end soon.
‘The status of women as a free and dignified human being has been restored and all institutions have been obliged to help women in securing marriage, inheritance, and other rights,’ he added.
Despite initial promises of a more moderate rule than during their previous stint in power in the 1990s, the Taliban have imposed harsh measures since seizing Afghanistan in August 2021 as U.S. and NATO forces were pulling out.
They have barred women from public spaces, like parks and gyms, and cracked down on media freedoms.
Akhundzada reiterated his call for other countries to stop interfering in Afghanistan’s internal affairs. He said the Taliban government wants good political and economic relations with the world, especially with Islamic countries, and has fulfilled its responsibility in this regard.
Akhundzada’s message also condemned Israel’s behaviour toward the Palestinians and called on the people and government of Sudan to set aside their differences and work together for unity and brotherhood.