A Questionable Decision
More concerning news emerged from Afghanistan this week as it was reported that the Taliban authorities had taken the decision to dissolve the country’s independent human rights commission as it was “not considered necessary”. Given the already dismal state of human rights in the country, this development is another blow to marginalised communities in the country.
Since the Taliban came to power last August, they have shut down several bodies that worked to guard the freedoms of Afghans, including the electoral commission and the ministry for women’s affairs. The human rights commission is not the only body that has been dissolved as five other key departments have also been shut down due to budgetary reasons.
Human rights defenders around the world have expressed concerns regarding these developments. It mattered enormously to have somewhere to go, to seek help and to demand justice. While the functioning of this body had been impeded by the new government since it came into power, its closure altogether certainly comes as a surprise.
Understandably, many feel that this will make the environment even more suffocating for women in the country. The Taliban government is yet to allow older girls to restart education, and have also introduced rules that mandate that women and girls wear veils, in addition to requiring them to have male relatives accompany them in public places. Such measures in recent months have made it clear that promises of the Taliban being more moderate this time around will not be fulfilled.
Afghanistan is struggling on multiple fronts at the moment and it is evident that the Taliban government is struggling to cope with the demands of running a country. Terror groups continue to operate on Afghan soil who conduct attacks in neighbouring countries, particularly in Pakistan. The Taliban are failing to keep their word in every regard and this is not going to do them any favours. The decision to shut down key bodies this week was apparently taken in light of the $501 million budget deficit facing the country. But the fact of the matter is that the Afghan government will be unable to overcome these challenges without extensive international assistance, and going by the current situation, not many countries will be eager to engage with this regime.