There’s been a women’s rights crisis in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover of the country in August last year, a flurry of media accounts and reports from activist groups have indicated.
The country’s defence minister, though, vehemently disagrees. In a global exclusive interview with CNN-News18, Mullah Yaqoob, who is also the son of Taliban founder and late supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, denied any issuance of oppressive rules for women by the Islamic Emirate.
“You see there is no such order on stopping education there and it is delayed in the absence of any order and clarity. This only means that there would be an atmosphere where education is given on the basis of Sharia and Afghan laws. On the question of hijab, 99% of women and girls voluntarily wear hijab which is integral to Afghans. This is also consonant with Islam and its values. There are no directives from the Islamic Emirate government. This is stressed that neither have we given any such orders nor will we give such orders which would trouble the masses,” he said.
The Afghan defence minister also hit back at countries that have been accusing the Taliban regime of curbing the fundamental rights of people, particularly women.
“I also say if there is freedom of human and women’s rights, then why is the world muted on the restrictions imposed on wearing of hijab in France and other countries that have forbidden women to wear hijab?” he said. “Women are free to wear hijab as per their wishes. I would say that the world should take note of reality and know what is happening.”
Nations must act in a neutral manner, urged Mullah Yaqoob.
“In other countries, restrictions were placed on the growing of beard, which is integral and Sunnat in Islam. There are more such directives and no one has objected to these orders that other countries have put. We strongly object to those countries who call themselves free and fair in their conduct,” he said. “We have not given any such drastic orders. In my view the concerns of other countries about us are baseless. They must strive to form cordial bilateral relations with us and not use hijab and other issues as an alibi to hamper our official capacity and relations.”