UN urges Afghanistan’s Taliban to reverse bans on women

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Thursday calling on Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers to swiftly reverse their increasingly harsh restrictions on women and girls, which range from very severely restricting education to banning women from most jobs, public spaces and gyms.

The council condemned the Taliban’s ban on women working for the U.N., a decision the resolution calls “unprecedented in the history of the United Nations.”

When the Taliban seized power in August 2021 as U.S. and NATO forces were pulling out of Afghanistan after two decades of war, they initially promised a more moderate rule than during their first stint in power from 1996 to 2001. But there has been a growing international outcry as Taliban leaders have gradually reimposed their severe interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia, on women and girls.

The resolution expresses “deep concern at the increasing erosion of respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women and girls in Afghanistan by the Taliban” and reaffirms their “indispensable role” in Afghan society.

It calls on the Taliban to swiftly restore their access to education, employment, freedom of movement and equal participation in public life. And it urges all other U.N. member nations to use their influence to promote “an urgent reversal” of the Taliban’s policies and practices toward women and girls.

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