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Timeline: Taliban crackdown on Afghan women’s education and rights

Group has gone back on its promises to guarantee certain rights for girls and women since it returned to power last year.

The Taliban have gone back on their promise to guarantee girls’ rights to education and other freedoms, reverting to their previous policies when they were last in power.

The group, which took over Kabul 16 months ago, argues that its rules are in line with its interpretation of Islam, even though Afghanistan is the only Muslim country that bans girls from receiving an education.

Here’s a timeline of his crackdown:

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August 2021: the Taliban return

The Taliban return to power in Kabul on August 15 during a chaotic final exit by US-led foreign troops, ending a 20-year war and precipitating the collapse of the Western-backed government of President Ashraf Ghani.

The group vows to give Afghans more freedoms than in its first term in power from 1996 to 2001, saying it will honor human rights obligations, including those for women.

September 2021: Classrooms segregated by gender

The Taliban announced on September 12 last year that women can attend universities with gender-segregated entrances and classrooms, but they can only be taught by professors of the same sex or older men. Other restrictions included wearing hijabs as part of a mandatory dress code.

March 2022: Girls excluded from school

On March 23 this year, secondary schools for girls were supposed to reopen, but the Taliban rescinded the directive and tens of thousands of teenage girls were locked up and ordered to stay home.

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May 2022: Stay at home

Taliban Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhunzada orders women on May 7 to cover themselves fully, including their faces, in public and generally stay at home. Women are also prohibited from traveling between cities without a male escort.

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August 2022: Protests break out

Taliban fighters beat up women protesters chanting “bread, work and freedom” and fired into the air on August 13 to break up a demonstration outside the Ministry of Education in Kabul.

Government forces also detain and beat journalists covering the protests.

November 2022: Parks Off Limits

Women are prohibited from entering parks, fairs, gyms and public baths.

December 2022: execution, flogging

The Taliban carry out their first public execution since returning to power, that of a convicted murderer who is shot dead on December 7 by his victim’s father in the western province of Farah.

The next day, more than 1,000 people watch as 27 Afghans, including women, are flogged in Charikar, in the central province of Parwan, for a range of crimes ranging from sodomy and cheating to forgery and debauchery.

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Since then, public floggings have been carried out regularly in other provinces.

December 2022: There is no university for women

Armed guards prevent hundreds of young women from entering university campuses on December 21, a day after a terse statement from the minister of higher education announced an order “suspending education for women until further notice.”

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