The Stream

How are women faring as Afghanistan’s problems deepen?

On Wednesday, July 6 at 19:30 GMT:
The future for women and girls in Afghanistan remains uncertain after a Taliban-convened grand assembly of religious elders ended without any changes to a ban on girls attending high school.

More than 3,500 clerics and scholars joined the “Loya Jirga” that began on June 30 and concluded with an endorsement of the Taliban government. But women were not allowed to join the three-day meeting as representatives, despite activists’ appeals to allow women to speak frankly about challenges facing women and girls.

Afghan women in recent months have urged the Taliban to reverse successive restrictions on their movementsdress, and employment. An internationally-condemned ban on girls attending high school remains in place, more than three months after the Taliban administration abruptly ordered female students home as they prepared to return to class.

Human rights advocates are now concerned that Taliban-imposed rules on women’s access to healthcare could affect women and girls in urgent need of care in the wake of a deadly earthquake in eastern Afghanistan on June 22.

As women across Afghanistan endure the Taliban-imposed constraints and minority communities also fear for their future, families across the country are shouldering the impact of an ever-worsening economic emergency. The vast majority of international funding was quickly shut off in the wake of the Taliban’s rise to power and the rapid exit of US and coalition forces in August 2021, pushing millions of Afghan families into debt and leaving them on the brink of hunger.

The US – which tentatively restarted talks with the Taliban in June – continues to freeze an estimated $7bn in foreign reserves held by Afghanistan’s central bank, fuelling a cash liquidity crisis that has hampered businesses and left teachers and government workers to struggle without pay.

In this episode of The Stream we’ll look at how women and girls in Afghanistan are coping with ever-tighter restrictions imposed by the Taliban, as families count the cost of the country’s economic and humanitarian crises.

In this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Sahar Fetrat, @Sahar_fetrat
Assistant Researcher, Human Rights Watch

Zarqa Yaftali, @zarqayaftali
Director, Women and Children Legal Research Foundation

Wazhma Frogh, @FroghWazhma
Founder, Women and Peace Studies Organization