| 2 March 2024, Saturday |

Taliban replaces women’s ministry with ministry of virtue and vice

On Friday, workers in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, replaced signage for the country’s women’s ministry with ones for the Taliban’s moral police, after female former employees of the department said they were shut out.

According to pictures and Reuters witnesses, a sign for the building was covered with a substitute on Friday that said “Ministries of Prayer and Guidance and the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice” in a combination of Dari and Arabic.

According to recordings recorded outside the facility obtained by Reuters, female employees said they had tried to come to work for several weeks only to be ordered to return home.

The gates of the building were finally locked on Thursday, one of the women said.

“I am the only breadwinner in my family,” said a second woman, who also said she worked in the department. “When there is no ministry, what should an Afghan woman do?”

Taliban spokesmen did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.

When the Taliban, who seized control of Afghanistan last month last amid the chaos following the withdrawal of U.S. troops, were last in power from 1996-2001 girls were not allowed to attend school and women were banned from work and education.

During that period its Ministry for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice became known as the group’s moral police, enforcing its interpretation of sharia that included a strict dress code and public executions and floggings.

A list of cabinet posts announced by the Taliban on Sept. 7 included an acting minister for the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice and made no mention of a women’s minister, but the group did not confirm the department had been disbanded.

A senior Taliban leader said earlier this week that women would not be allowed to work in government ministries with men.

  • Reuters