Afghanistan’s new all-male interim cabinet – made up entirely of Taliban loyalists – is moving rapidly away from earlier promises of moderation and inclusivity.
The façade came off with a Taliban spokesperson declaring on Thursday that women should restrict themselves to giving birth. He was reacting to the recent protests and the outrage over the all-male government.
The Taliban spokesperson Sayed Zekrullah Hashimi, in an interview to Tolo News, further had the audacity to remark, "A woman can't be a minister, it is like you put something on her neck that she can't carry". Moreover, women protesters can't represent all women in Afghanistan, he reasoned.
According to CNN, the Taliban used whips and sticks against the women protesters in a recent crackdown on dissent.
TALIBAN DIKTAT ON PROTESTS: In a move to tighten its crackdown on escalating protests, Taliban on Thursday banned any demonstrations that do not have official approval for both the gathering itself and for any slogans that might be raised. In the first decree issued by the Islamist group’s new interior ministry, which is led by Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is wanted by the United States on terrorism charges, the Taliban warned opponents that they must secure permission before any protests or face “severe legal consequences’”.
The prohibition on protests came amid evidence that the Taliban is rapidly consolidating its grip on power after its recent forays in the Panshjir Valley, north of Kabul.
THREAT TO CANCEL CRICKET MATCH: Cricket Australia on Thursday said it would cancel a historic maiden Test match against Afghanistan unless the Taliban backtracks on a reported ban on women playing sport. The governing body said the first ever men's Test between the two nations in November was under serious threat after the deputy head of the Taliban's cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, reportedly said women would not play cricket, or any other sport, under the new regime. "I don't think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary that women should play cricket," Wasiq told Australian broadcaster SBS on Wednesday. "It wasn't necessary for women to play cricket because they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen like this", said Ahmadullah Wasiq, deputy head of Taliban's cultural commission, during an interview with SBS News.