Afghanistan: Taliban Prohibit All Employment Of Women

Afghanistan: Taliban Prohibit All Employment Of Women – Brief Article

THE INDEPENDENT (UK), July 11, 2000

“An American woman, Mary MacMakin, 71, was arrested after officials from the Ministry of Vice and Virtue raided the Kabul office of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Support for Afghanistan, a non-governmental agency, of which she is director. Ms. MacMakin was arrested along with eight male and seven female staff members. By Monday the men had been released but the women had not.

The Islamic Government circulated a letter to non-governmental agencies banning them from employing women. Ms. MacMakin, who opened her agency to help Afghan widows in 1996, is a well-known figure in Kabul. She set up the organisation to enable widows to earn money from weaving, embroidery and other handiwork.

She said her group had suffered harassment by the government, including a search of her office in which Taliban officials tore the head off a doll made by one of the women because the Taliban don’t allow ‘idols.’ The women were banned from meeting in the office, so they met in taxis until the taxi drivers were arrested and their cars impounded.

Women also met at Kabul’s maternity hospital. Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar responded to Ms. MacMakin’s call for assistance and her group was given permission to function freely – even with the cooperation of government officials. . .

‘This is a setback for women because only a few women were working at non-governmental organisations, and now they are going to take this away from them as well,’ she said. ‘We ask the international community to put more pressure on the Taliban.’ The Afghan Islamic Press, based in Peshawar, Pakistan, said the new order was issued by the Taliban’s Planning Ministry to NGOs operating in Kabul. . .”

COPYRIGHT 2001 Women’s International Network

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group