Taliban has reportedly banned contraceptives
Since the Taliban returned to power in August 2021 they have imposed a slew of restrictions on Afghan women, effectively squeezing them out of public life. AFP/Wakil KOHSAR

Women are being systematically targeted by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The latest reports that have emerged out of the country claim that the Taliban is now forcing divorced women to go back to their abusive ex-husbands.

Several women have been asked to return to their husbands since the Taliban took over the country in August 2021, according to an AFP report.

A woman told the publication that she was forced to return to her ex-husband despite not wanting to. She explained how abusive her husband was when they were married and that he even broke all her teeth. The woman has now been hiding at a relative's place along with her children.

The tyrannical Taliban government has been passing diktat after diktat restricting women's movement, lifestyle, and rights. Women are slowly being erased from public places.

The Taliban has banned girls from attending senior secondary and higher secondary schools. Women have also been prohibited from attending classes in universities. The regime has also banned women from working in government and private offices.

The Afghan authorities have banned visiting parks, gyms, and public baths. They have also reportedly banned the sale of contraceptives in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif. This step could lead to an increase in maternal mortality rates and unwanted pregnancies.

The country is already struggling financially, and the government has failed to provide a system wherein people can access adequate healthcare, good education, and a decent lifestyle. This move will only deteriorate the situation in two of Afghanistan's major cities.

The Taliban recently banned women from working for national and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), women make up about 35 to 40 per cent of the workforce of NGOs and help provide humanitarian assistance to thousands of people across the country. The country is in the middle of the world's largest humanitarian crisis, and banning female aid workers is only expected to make conditions worse.

"Since the Taliban took over in August 2021, we have seen the space, dignity, respect, and opportunities for women shrinking and eroding. The ban on female aid workers felt like the final nail in our hopes of seeing a change in the Taliban's attitude towards women," a female aid worker told the OCHA.

A UN report on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan revealed that women continue to face "restrictions in their movement, attire, employment options, and ability to seek public office or perform the public role," despite the authorities promising to have a more liberal approach.

The women have also been asked to be accompanied by a male relative if they are stepping out of their houses. The policy has limited their chances of getting employment in the private sector, thereby, making them more vulnerable.

The Taliban barred women from holding public office and other positions of leadership from the beginning of their new reign. The UN has urged the government to revoke its policies targeting women and girls; however, the request has fallen on deaf ears.

The Taliban are essentially taking Afghanistan back to the 1990s, when women were required to wear an all-encompassing blue burqa. They had no rights whatsoever, and their existence had only one purpose, which was to serve their husbands and families. The new edict is the latest in a series of restrictions announced by the Taliban to further control women.

There is no one in the country who can now stand up for women's rights and freedom. There have been some protests against the regime by women's rights activists, but the Taliban government managed to crush them all with threats, intimidation, and punishment.