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Afghan Women and Girls Face Dire Situation as Taliban Tighten Grip on Rights and Media

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The Taliban have further increased their extreme restrictions on the rights of women and girls and the media since taking control of Afghanistan on August 15, 2021.

The militant Islamist group has denied women and girls their rights to education, work, movement, and assembly, and has imposed extensive censorship on the media and access to information.

The Taliban have banned women from appearing in television dramas and soap operas, and have ordered female journalists and presenters to wear headscarves on screen. They have also prohibited broadcasting any films deemed to be “against Islamic or Afghan values” or that insult religion. The Taliban have also restricted foreign films that promote foreign cultural values.

The Taliban have also barred women from most areas of public life and work, and have cracked down on media freedoms. They have banned girls from going to school beyond the sixth grade and prohibited Afghan women from working at local and non-governmental organizations. They have also ordered salons not to shave or trim beards, and have closed down music shops and internet cafes in some areas.

The Taliban have also increased detentions of journalists and other critics, and have threatened or attacked media outlets that do not comply with their rules. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 10 journalists have been killed in Afghanistan since August 15, 2021. Many others have fled the country or gone into hiding for fear of reprisals.

Rights groups urged the international community to pressure the Taliban to respect the rights of women and girls, and to ensure the safety and freedom of expression of journalists and media workers. The group has also called for the provision of humanitarian aid and assistance to the millions of Afghans who are facing a severe crisis due to the conflict and drought.

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