Nargis Nehan: ‘Women are begging on the streets of Kabul’

The former Afghan republic minister tells Roxanne Escobales that engagement with the Taliban can only come by prioritising the rights of the country’s women and girls.

The World Today
4 minute READ

Nargis Nehan was Afghanistan’s acting Minister for Mines and Petroleum from 2017-2019. She fled the country after the Taliban takeover in 2021 and is now a women’s rights advocate. After the United States invasion in 2001 she worked in various government roles, including Director General of the Treasury and as a senior adviser in the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.

With the Taliban back in power for two years, what is the state of women’s affairs in Afghanistan today?

Women are living under gender apartheid. After two years in control, girls are not allowed to attend secondary school; they are not allowed to attend universities. Women are not allowed to work in non-governmental sectors; women are being removed from the public sector. Women are not allowed to work in United Nations agencies, and there are now restrictions on women in the private sector.

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