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Afghanistan: Taliban bans forced marriage for women
One of the reforms being asked of the Taliban by the international community is equal rights for women and girls in Afghanistan. In a recent announcement, the insurgent group has declared a ban on forcing women to go into a marriage.
Al Jazeera reports that the Taliban’s reclusive leader Hibatullah Akhunzada issued a decree banning forced marriage for women in Afghanistan. The decree was announced last week by the group’s chief, who is believed to be in Kandahar. The insurgent group said regarding the ban that women should not be considered “property” and must consent to be married.
Both men and women should be equal, said the decree, and that “no one can force women to marry by coercion or pressure.” While the decree did not mention a minimum age limit to marry, they noted that widows will now be allowed to remarry 17 weeks after their husband’s death, after which she is free to choose her husband. This is a break from a longtime tribal tradition of a widow marrying one of her husband’s brothers or relatives after his death.
The Taliban’s leaders have ordered the Afghan courts to treat women fairly, especially widows who are seeking inheritance as next of kin. The insurgent group has also asked its government ministers to spread awareness of women’s rights in the country. This marks a significant step forward regarding women’s and girls’ rights in Afghanistan.
It remains to be seen if this step also extends to the aspects of education and work.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s foreign minister reiterated the nation’s stance of continuing to work with the insurgent group. In a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said that Qatar would work with Turkey and Taliban officials in making sure that Afghanistan’s international airport in Kabul remains operational.
Both ministers met as part of the annual Qatar-Turkey Strategic Dialogue.
Cavusoglu said that Turkey is looking to work towards “peace and stability” in Afghanistan, urging the international community to engage with the insurgent group and calling on them to “differentiate” the humanitarian and the political side to the situation. Cavusoglu added that Turkey is cooperating with Qatar to provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.