UN expert says Taliban curbs on women aim to make them invisible

UN expert says Taliban curbs on women aim to make them invisible

UN human rights observer said on Thursday that the Taliban government's restrictions on women are intended to make them invisible in Afghan society.

Since the Taliban stormed back to power last year, they have imposed harsh restrictions on women and girls to comply with their austere vision of Islam.

Teenage girls have been shut out of secondary schools, while women have been forced from some government jobs and barred from travelling alone.

This month, Afghanistan's supreme leader and Taliban chief Hibatullah Akhundzada ordered women to cover up fully in public, including their faces.

These policies show a pattern of absolute gender segregation and are aimed at making women invisible in society, according to a UN special rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, told reporters in Kabul.

The de facto authorities did not acknowledge the magnitude and gravity of the abuses being committed, many of them in their name, Bennett said.

He said that Taliban fighters broke up a women's protest on Thursday calling for the reopening of secondary schools for girls.

An organiser of the rally, Munisa Mubariz, told AFP that Angry Taliban forces came and dispersed us.

In March, the Taliban ordered all secondary schools for girls to shut down, just hours after opening them for the first time since taking power in August.

The government hasn't offered a clear reason for the decision, but officials claim that institutions will reopen soon.

Foreign governments insist that the Taliban's record on human rights, especially women's rights, will be a key factor in determining whether or not the administration will be recognised.

During the two decades of US military intervention in Afghanistan, women and girls made marginal gains in the deeply patriarchal nation.

Some Afghan women initially pushed back against the Taliban curbs, holding small protests where they demanded the right to education and work.

The ringleaders were held incommunicado by hardliners, while denying they had been held incommunicado.

Most of them have gone silent since their release.