Taliban-run Kabul govt. tells women workers to stay home

Women employees in the Kabul city government have been told to stay home, with work only allowed for those who cannot be replaced by men, the interim Mayor of Afghanistan’s capital said on Sunday.

Witnesses, meanwhile, said an explosion targeted a Taliban vehicle in Jalalabad. Hospital officials said five people were killed in the second such deadly blast in as many days in the Islamic State stronghold.

The decision to prevent most women city workers from returning to their jobs is another sign that the Taliban are going back from their promises that they would be tolerant and inclusive. In their previous rule in the 1990s, the Taliban had barred girls and women from schools, jobs and public life.

In recent days, the new Taliban government issued several decrees rolling back the rights of women. It told women middle-and high school students that they could not return to school.

On Friday, the Taliban shut down the Women’s Affairs Ministry, replacing it with a Ministry for the “propagation of virtue and the prevention of vice”.

On Sunday, over a dozen women staged a protest outside the Ministry, holding up signs calling for the participation of women in public life. “A society in which women are not active is (sic) dead society,” one sign read.

The protest lasted for about 10 minutes. After a short verbal confrontation with a man, the women got into cars and lef.

Interim Kabul Mayor Hamdullah Namony said the women employees have been ordered to stay home, pending a further decision. He said exceptions were made for women who could not be replaced by men, including some in the design and engineering departments and the attendants of public toilets for women. Namony did not say how many women employees were forced to stay home.

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