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General Studies 2 >> International Relations

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1. Context

The blanket ban on education for girls and women and other decisions effectively banishing women from public life in Afghanistan, and the return of public executions and floggings are punishments in keeping with Sharia law, have believed hopes that this Taliban regime would be somehow different from the one of 1996-2001.
2.Taliban's ban on Women
  • The Taliban's orders include Banning Afghan school girls from studying above grade six, Job restrictions, a Ban on women at gyms and public parks, and Public floggings for women traveling without male relatives accompanying them.
  • The Taliban first slapped a ban on girls attending secondary schools temporarily in 2021, citing cultural and budgetary constraints, lack of resources, lack of infrastructure, lack of teachers, etc.
  • Under the present ban, primary and elementary schools will remain open while secondary education is banned for girl students.
  • Women teachers have been banned from working.
  • In most government offices, women employees had already been asked to take a pay cut and show up once a week to mark attendance.
  • The inivisiblisation of women by the Taliban is now gaining momentum.
  • The Taliban have also resumed the practice of public punishment, their calling card in the late 1990s. The first public execution took place on December 7 in the southwestern province of Farah- an alleged murderer was shot dead by the father of his victim. There have been several public flogging since then.
  • The ban makes Afghanistan the only country in the world where girls and women are denied access to education.

3. Responses from the International community

  • The world has responded as one to the Taliban ban on girls' education. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Pakistan, the three countries that recognized the 1996-2001 Taliban regime have condemned the ban.
  • Turkey, Qatar, and Indonesia have also questioned the ban. Some countries have said it is against Islam to deny women education.
  • The Chair of G7 foreign ministers warned that the Taliban's gender persecution may amount to a crime against humanity under the Rome Statute, to which Afghanistan is a state party.
  • India reiterated its commitment to an inclusive that respects the rights of all Afghans and ensures equal rights for women to participate in all aspects of Afghan society, including access to higher education.
  • Given the nature of the choice between starving Afghans and punishing the Taliban, the international community faces limitations.
  • Some 15 countries, including India, China, Russia, and Pakistan have been engaging with the Taliban but no country has granted recognition to the Taliban.

4. What does the Taliban Want?

  • The Taliban is desperate for international recognition, but they have shown that they won't fulfill the conditions for it, and instead hope to benefit from geopolitical rivalries and the race among regional powers for influence in Afghanistan.
  • Given the nature of the choice between starving Afghans and punishing the Taliban-the limitations to what the international community can do to ensure that Afghan women do not sink into a black hole are painfully evident.

5. What's next?

  • The international community especially India may curtail engagement with the Taliban, which depends on external assistance to run its government structures.
  • Leading nations should create platforms outside Afghanistan for non-Taliban Afghan leaders, particularly women who had been elected in the past, to organize and voice an alternative vision.
  • New Delhi's decision to cancel all visas to Afghans hurt female students seeking an education in India the most.
  • Among the visa seekers are hundreds of women with no education or career prospects in their own country, more so after the latest anti-women move.
  • New Delhi's only engagement so far with the Afghan people has been the evacuation of the Afghan Sikh community, who were being repeatedly targeted by ISIS.
  • India, as a regional leader, must review its "hands-off" approach to the people of Afghanistan who have suffered many deprivations in the past year.

For Prelims & Mains

For Prelims: Sharia law, Indo-afghan relations, G7 countries, Taliban's regime.
For Mains:1. The emergence of the Taliban after the US troops exit from Afghanistan causes instability in the region. Explain What are the options available before India tackles this situation.
Source: The Indian Express

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