Women in Afghanistan 'can work and go to university': Taliban

Women in Afghanistan 'can work and go to university': Taliban
Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said women will be allowed to work and go to university as long as they wear the hijab.
2 min read
17 August, 2021
Suhail Shaheen has tried to calm global panic over Taliban rule [Getty]

Women in Afghanistan will be allowed to work and take up an education up to university level, the Taliban's spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Speaking to the UK's Sky News, Suhail Shaheen said "thousands" of schools are continuing to operate after the Taliban tore through the country and took over the Afghan capital on Sunday.

The fall of Kabul left Afghan women fearing for their future under hardline Islamist rule.

The international community has urged the Islamist militants to respect the rights of women.

Asked if the Taliban promises to respect their freedoms, Shaheen said: "Of course... we are committed to women's rights, to education, to work, and to freedom of speech, in the light of our Islamic rules.

"All people should be equal... and there should not be discrimination in society," he added, despite saying women will be expected to adhere to the hijab, but will not need to cover their faces.

Women will be expected to wear the hijab but not the burqa, he said.

"These are not our rules, these are Islamic rules," he added, saying it is "for their security".

Since the takeover, Shaheen has been seeking to calm global fears about the return of the group to power, which ruled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001.

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During Taliban rule, women were not allowed to work or leave their house without a male chaperone, while schooling for women and girls over the age of 10 was stigmatised.

Afghan women, including journalists, have been pleading for help as the militant group carries out a swift takeover of the country, including the capital Kabul on Sunday.

Many women journalists scrambled to send identity documentations to embassies for asylum while deleting all social media profiles and traces of their work for their safety.

On Friday, the UN's  Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the Taliban severely restricted the rights of and girls in areas they had seized at the time.

"I'm... deeply disturbed by early indications that the Taliban are imposing severe restrictions on human rights in the areas under their control, particularly targeting women and journalists," Guterres told reporters.

"It is particularly horrifying and heart-breaking to see reports of the hard-won rights of Afghan girls and women being ripped away," he added.