Taliban’s edicts, orders, and directives denying Afghan women and girls their human rights and existence
Taliban edicts and orders originate from multiple sources within the Taliban hierarchy. Some are given by the Taliban Supreme Leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, who remains secluded in Kandahar and never seen by the Afghan people. His decrees and orders primarily pertain to the courts and security services, although they may also address other matters, including women’s issues.
The Ministry of the Prevention of Vice and Promotion of Virtue, also known as the Ministry of Vice and Virtue, is another key issuing authority. Their focus is predominantly on various aspects of social and public life, with a particular focus on regulating the lives of women and girls. Additionally, various ministerial departments play active roles in issuing orders. The Ministry of Education, Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Communications, and others are notable contributors. These departments cover many topics relevant to education, communication, and related fields.
Various departments are responsible for enforcing the edicts and orders, with a significant role played by the Ministry of Vice and Virtue. Violations of these decrees and orders are met with severe measures, including intimidation, warnings, arrest, detention, physical abuse, and even killing.
This list primarily encompasses edicts and orders that impact women and girls, often addressing issues related to human rights, media freedom, and movement restrictions. It doesn’t encompass all the decrees and orders issued by the Supreme Leader, which tend to focus more on governance matters, with only a few directly addressing women and the dress code for women. (See a list of the decrees and orders of the Taliban supreme leader here on the website of the Taliban Ministry of Justice.) The Taliban Supreme Leader and officials also issued decrees and orders since its founding in 1994. This list entails those issued over two years since the Taliban returned to power in August 2021.
This is a developing list and will be updated regularly. So far, over 100 edicts and orders are issued that primarily target women and girls’ education, employment, access to justice and all other services, and public spaces.
In over a dozen provinces, girls above age 10 and in some provinces above 3rd grade are no longer allowed to pursue education. Before this change, girls could go to school until grade 6.
All women-run beauty salons were forced to close.
Taliban’s Directorate of Preaching & Propagation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a letter to its representatives in provinces and overseas, instructed them to perform daily prayers collectively and to adjust their appearance according to Shariah and the Prophet’s sunnah.
The Taliban abolished the Attorney General’s Office and replaced it with the “Directorate of Supervision and Prosecution of Decrees and Orders,” designed to ensure the implementation of the Taliban’s orders in public and private life.
In a new order, NGOs must hire Taliban-approved applicants to new positions.
A letter from the Ministry of Higher Education orders to refrain from using certain words in their lectures and research. Many of the examples are in Farsi Dari.
Taliban orders all international organizations to stop all education programs in Afghanistan and hand them over to the Taliban.
The Ministry of Vice and Virtue announced that music is not allowed at weddings anymore. The Ministry, which serves as the morality police, announced that the regime will be scouring wedding halls to enforce the ban.
Women are barred from visiting health clinics and graveyards. If women and girls still go, the order demands that their men in the family must be arrested and punished.
Men (staff and teachers) must keep their beards long if they want to keep their positions in the education department in the eastern province of Khost.
Health workers are not allowed to carry smartphones while on duty in the southern Helmand province.
The Taliban ordered the UN that Afghan national female staff were barred from work at the UN. Some “400” women work for the UN in Afghanistan.
Women are barred from going to restaurants in Herat. Previously, restaurants were segregated.
The Shia community was ordered to celebrate Eid, a religious holiday in Islam, per the Taliban court announcement. The Shia community often celebrates Eid a day later.
New laws were announced, making it impossible for women to escape and divorce abusive husbands. Many women fear their divorces under the previous republic government could be voided, forcing them to return to their former husbands.
Girls were barred from starting the new academic year in universities. Only boys were allowed.
Men and women were ordered to visit shrines on different days.
New orders were issued to beauty salons in the central province of Parwan, demanding that women cleanse themselves before applying makeup.
Restaurants in Takhar province should not serve women who are not escorted by a close male relative.
New year celebration was announced forbidden. The order also prohibited celebrating birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and Women’s Day. The Afghan people celebrate the Afghan new year (first day of Spring) widely throughout the country.
In the northern province of Balkh, banking services became segregated by sex.
The Attorney General’s office was abolished and renamed the General Directorate for Monitoring and Follow-up of Decrees and Directives.
Courts must reexamine cases settled by the courts under the republic government. It must invalidate cases that did not meet the Taliban Sharia.
Planting hashish (marijuana) is prohibited.
Taliban ordered women medical staff members to observe full black hijab with mask at all times.
Women in the medical field in Kandahar were told they must be escorted by a male family member.
Women’s karate club was forced to close.
Intermarriages among Sunni and Shia were forbidden in the north of Afghanistan, in Badakhshan province.
Dental clinics run by women were forced to close in the central Ghazni province for allegedly treating male patients.
Women medical students were not allowed to take their exit exam. Only male students were allowed.
Women are banned from visiting historic sites.
Poets told not to compose musical proses.
High school graduate girls were told they are not allowed to take the university entrance exam.
The sale of contraceptives was banned, telling people it is a “western conspiracy.”
Attending religious classes became mandatory for the public servants. They must also pass the test of faith.
Girls were banned from secondary and high schools in east Afghanistan that had briefly opened.
Women students were banned from taking videos and photos on university campus.
Media outlets were ordered that women guest speakers must cover faces appearing on TV.
The Taliban has targeted religious minorities and in August 2022, the regime removed Ashura, a religious holiday for the Shia minority as a public holiday.
Women flight attendants were fired and banned from their jobs.
Attending religious classes in universities are mandatory per the Taliban order. The order added five new classes to the curricula on top of the existing 8 classes.
The Taliban announced the creation of female moral police department.
Women cannot go to parks where authorities cannot enforce segregation.
Women students were asked to cover their faces on university campuses.
Taliban officials ordered women employees of the finance ministry to send a male relative to their jobs instead.
Girls from grade 4-6 were ordered in Ghazni to cover their faces while commuting to school or face expulsion.
Women are banned from receiving driver’s licenses
Women cannot use public transport if they are alone.
A Taliban decree stated that women should only leave their homes “in cases of necessity” and avoid going out.
The Taliban began a campaign for proper hijab. They stated that the best form of hijab is to stay home or wear a burqa, fully covered from head to toe.
The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission was dissolved alongside five other key departments. Also dissolved was the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), the once high-powered National Security Council, and the commission for overseeing the implementation of the Afghan constitution.
Women journalists were told to cover their faces when appearing on TV.
Taliban supreme leaders issued an order stating, officials must refrain from second, third, and fourth marriages. Taliban members are known to have more than one wife, often “rewarding” themselves with a second, third, and fourth wife.
Parks segregated, and men and women to visit parks on different days of the week.
TikTok and PUBG banned. The Taliban say it Banned TikTok and PUBG insisting they were leading Afghan youths astray.
University classes became segregated — three days for women and three days for men.
New hijab order was issued by the Taliban Supreme Leaders and the Ministry Vice and Virtue and Department of Hearing of Complaints was assigned to implement it. Other ministries and departments, including, The Supreme Court, the Ministry of Guidance and Pilgrimage, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Interior, and the General Directorate of Intelligence preachers and orators, should fully cooperate in the implementation.
Women are not allowed to seek medical treatments without a mahram.
Women’s and men’s offices were segregated.
All foreign TV series are banned.
Schools will remain closed for girls beyond grade 6. Another statement a few days earlier had promised that schools will reopen, but the Taliban walked back on their promise.
The new year celebration was canceled and banned. New year is a big holiday in Afghanistan but the Taliban says it is against their Sharia to celebrate the new year.
Women are banned from flying or leaving the country without a mahram or male guardian.
Men employees of the government were told to have beards to risk being fired.
Taliban supreme leader ordered that women cannot be employed or leave home.
Taliban supreme leaders ordered to refrain from hiring relative and friends to jobs.
The supreme leader issued a lengthy order outlining the curricula for universities’ first and second semesters, mostly focusing on religious text and additions.
Ordered NGOs to replace board members and those in leadership positions with Afghans living inside Afghanistan.
Ordered universities to enforce gender-segregated classrooms.
Banned women from traveling abroad without a mahram/male guardian and a legitimate reason.
The Taliban Supreme leader issued an order that the academic documents issued by the first Taliban regime are valid and the holders entitled for their benefits.
Banned women from long-distance (45 miles) road trips without a mahram or a close male family member.
Banned drivers from playing music in their cars. The order also demanded that women passengers not be given rides without hijab.
Ordered clothing stores to remove mannequins’ heads.
The Taliban’s Supreme Leader issued an extensive decree regarding women’s consent in marriage, inheritance, re-marriage after losing a husband, and fair treatment by the husband if he has more than one wife. The decree was ostensibly aimed at supporting women’s rights. However, there have been ongoing reports of Taliban officials forcing underage girls into marriage, raising concerns about enforcing this edict. This lack of adherence underscores that a significant portion of the Taliban within the organization does not consistently follow their leaders’ directives.
Banned women from appearing in television shows.
Stormed the Afghan Independent Bar Association and closed the office.
Ordered followers of non-Sunni sect of Islam and other religions to follow the Sharia orders and the Hanafi (Sunni) jurisprudence in performing their religious rituals. The order also stated that senior government employees must be followers of Hanafi jurisprudence.
Edicts on governance were issued. No specific edict was issued on women and human rights.
The Taliban banned protests and slogans that did not receive prior approval from the Taliban.
The Taliban prohibited girls from pursuing secondary education.
The Taliban replaced the Ministry of Women’s Affairs with the Ministry of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.
The Taliban ordered professional and working women to remain at home until further notice.
The Taliban ordered barbers not to shave men’s beards.
The Taliban enforced a ban on women attending and teaching at Kabul University.
Taliban ordered women to remain home for their “safety,” citing a lack of training and
acceptance among Taliban foot soldiers to treat women with respect. Taliban
spokesperson had mentioned it would be a temporary order until the situation becomes
Taliban enforced a ban on co-education and banned men from teaching girls.
Taliban announced an empty promise of amnesty for all, including the opposition and
former pro-republic officials. The group also urged women to join the Taliban’s