Afghan Taliban Leader's Decree On Women's Rights Avoids Talking About Women's Inclusion In Government Ministries

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December 15, 2021

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The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the Taliban jihadi organization that seized power in the country on August 15, 2021) has issued a decree that it says is meant to protect women's rights as per shari'a. The points mentioned in the decree are mostly about Muslim women's rights regarding marriage as well as the rights of widows. The Islamic Emirate is under international pressure to form a government that includes women and members of religious minorities such as Afghan Hindus and Sikhs. The decree is silent on these issues.


Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, the so-called Emir-ul-Momineen

The Islamic Emirate, whose interim government is yet to be recognized by any country, is campaigning for legitimacy in the eyes of the world. But when it formed the Taliban government soon after August 15, its first act was to abolish the Ministry of Women's Affairs that had existed under the previous government, which had been democratically elected.

Following is the text of the December 3, 2021 decree issued by Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, who enjoys the allegiance of all Al-Qaeda affiliates and Taliban-associated groups as the so called Emir-ul-Momineen ("Commander of the Faithful"):

"In the name of Allah, the most merciful and the most compassionate

"The Islamic Emirate's leadership directs all relevant organizations, Ulema-e Karam [religious scholars] and tribal elders to take serious action to enforce women's rights.

"1) Adult women's consent is necessary during Nikah/marriage... No one can force women to marry by coercion or pressure.

"2) A woman is not property, but a noble and free human being; no one can give her to anyone in exchange for peace deal and or to end animosity.

"3) After the death of the husband, 'Sharaie Adat' (four months and ten nights or pregnancy) passes, no one can marry a widow by force including her relatives. A widow has the right whether to marry and or to determine/choose her future. (... the principle of equality and preventing sedition should be kept into consideration).

"4) It is the shari'a right of a widow to obtain Mahar [dower] from her new husband.

"5) A widow has a right of right and fixed share in the property of her husband, children, father, and relatives; and no one can deprive a widow of her right.

"6) Those with multi-marriages (more than one wife) are obliged to give rights to all women in accordance with shari'a, and maintain justice between them.

"For proper implementation of this decree, relevant organizations are instructed to do the following:

"A) The Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs is instructed to encourage scholars to give awareness to the people about women's rights through their letters and preaching: that oppressing women and not giving them their rights will cause Allah's dissatisfaction and his torment and anger.

"B) The Ministry of Information and Culture is instructed to publish articles related to women's rights through its means in writing and audio, as well as encourage writers and activists to publish useful articles on women's rights to attract the attention of Ulema and the people about women's shari'a rights, to prevent the ongoing oppression.

"C) The Supreme Court must issue instructions to all courts to consider applications for women's rights, especially widows' rights and their oppression in a proper and principled manner in order to not disappoint women in getting rid of oppression and obtaining their shari'a rights.

"D) [provincial] Governors and district governors must cooperate comprehensively with the named ministries and the Supreme Court in the implementation of this decree.

"Wasalam
3/12/2021"

Source: Swn.af (Afghanistan), December 3, 2021. The original English of the decree has been lightly edited for clarity and standardization.

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