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Taliban literally silences women in Kandahar media

By Sana Atif 

A day after the United Nations Security Council condemned the Taliban’s restrictions on women, Taliban officials in Kandahar province ordered the media to refrain from broadcasting women’s voices, even in cooking and religious affairs programs. The silencing of women is the latest restriction imposed by the Taliban on women. Last week, the regime closed universities and private educational centres to girls and banned women from working for domestic and foreign non-governmental organizations. 

The new media rules were introduced on Wednesday, December 28, when the Taliban department of information and culture and intelligence held a meeting with local media representatives. The Taliban ordered them to refrain from publishing and broadcasting women’s voices in religious and entertainment programs and not to invite critics of the Taliban in their programs.  

“In this meeting, the media officials were asked to reject calls of women to participate in the programs and not to provide a platform to those that do not accept the legitimacy of this group,” a source who was at the meeting tells Zan Times on condition of anonymity. The Taliban warned that violators of their order would be dealt with, the source adds.  

Another source at the meeting says that the Taliban officials also emphasized that the Pashto language should be the exclusive language of programming in Kandahar and that they shouldn’t use Dari-Farsi or English words. This person also says that the Taliban media should strictly operate under the supervision of the Directorate of Information and Culture of this group. 

The recent Taliban ban on women working for aid organizations has resulted in many humanitarian agencies and some UN offices in Afghanistan suspending their activities rather than discriminating against women. On Tuesday, December 27, the United Nations Security Council unanimously stated that it was “deeply alarmed” by the Taliban’s recent restrictions on women and demanded that they be revoked. “This decision will undermine the work of numerous organizations working across the country helping those most vulnerable, especially women and girls,” added UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “The Secretary-General reiterates the rights of all women to participate in the workforce thus contributing to the greater good.”  

Also, the foreign ministers of the United States of America, Great Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, and Holland, and the high-level delegation of the European Union also issued a joint statement on Thursday, December 29, calling on the Taliban to remove the restrictions they have imposed on women. These countries have warned that the Taliban’s decision to ban women from working in aid organizations will affect the process of disbursing humanitarian aid.