Updated February 21, 2023
Since the Taliban returned to power in August 2021, Afghanistan has become one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. Woman and children have borne the brunt of this. The Taliban’s brutal repression of women has deprived many of the ability to earn an income. Nine in ten families are struggling to put enough food on the table. According to the UN World Food Program, an estimated four million mothers and children under the age of five are malnourished. Struggling to cope, the poorest families often resort to marrying off their young daughters, or even selling them.
As was the case when the group last held power, the Taliban considers an educated female a threat to its rule. Over the past 18 months, it has imposed increasingly harsh restrictions on female access to education. In March 2022, the group refused to reopen classes for teenage girls above Grade 6. Then, in late December 2022, the Taliban went further, banning women from attending university. These severe measures have come at a time when Afghan girls already face enormous challenges in accessing education. Even before the Taliban took control, 3.7 million Afghan children were out of school, 60% of whom were girls.
The international community has strongly condemned the Taliban’s treatment of women and girls. Afghanistan is the only country in the world where teenage girls and women are not allowed to attend school.