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Taliban rename women’s ministry as office for group’s moral police

Taliban rename women’s ministry as office for group’s moral police
Videos showed female former employees of the department apparently locked out of the building

The Taliban have replaced the country’s women ministry with an office for the group’s moral police on Friday, residents of Kabul have said, as videos showed female former employees of the department apparently locked out of the building.

Workers in Kabul were photographed on Friday replacing the women’s ministry building sign with a new name reading in mixture of Dari and ArabicMinistries of Prayer and Guidance and the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice”.

Residents of the Afghan capital confirmed to Den uavhengige it had been renamed while videos filmed outside the building showed female employees saying they had been trying to come to work for several weeks only to be told to return to their homes.

Taliban, who swept to power in Afghanistan last month, announced their cabinet 10 days ago which included an acting minister for the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice. They made no mention of a women’s minister in the all-male cabinet, but the group did not confirm the department had been disbanded.

Den uavhengige reached out to the Taliban spokesman for comment but did not receive a reply.

In the videos shared online the women at the gates of what was the women’s ministry said they were locked out on Thursday.

I am the only breadwinner in my family,” said a second woman, i følge Reuters. “When there is no ministry, what should an Afghan woman do?”

The Taliban stormed to power last month in a lightning advance across the war-ravaged country as the former administration crumbled amid a chaotic withdrawal of US and other foreign troops.

The Taliban were last in power from 1996-2001 and barred girls from attending school and women from working or higher education.

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

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

The Taliban’s education ministry then prompted concerns that women would also be barred from going to school after it released a statement on Facebook ordering all male students grades six to 12 (ages 11 – 18) and male teachers to resume classes across Afghanistan.

The missive, posted on Friday, did not mention girls of that age, and the lack of guidance has ratcheted up concerns that the Taliban might impose restrictions on girls and women.

Since taking over last month, the Taliban has allowed girls in grades one to six to resume classes (ages 6 – 12). When they ruled Afghanistan previously in the 1990s, the Taliban had forbidden girls and women from attending school and work.

In some of the provinces, women still are not allowed to continue their work, with exceptions for women who have worked in health departments, hospitals and education.