Women in Afghanistan are voiceless

Women in Afghanistan are voiceless
Afghan woman shouting slogans with Hundreds of Afghans at UNHCR to protest against the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan- Shutterstock

By the order of the Taliban government, Sada E Banowan Radio (Voice of Women Radio) was forced on March 30 to shut down due to broadcasting music during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar when Muslims fast from dawn to sunset.


The Taliban’s head of information and culture for Badakhshan province, Moezuddin Ahmadi, said on Friday, March 31, that the reason for the closure of the radio station was broadcasting music, especially during the holy month of Ramadan, and its staff was warned several times, local media reported.


He added that the closure is temporary, and if he is given a guarantee from the staff members that they will not stream music again, the station will re-operate.


In response, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Friday called upon the Taliban authorities to allow the resumption of the radio station, saying, “Taliban authorities must stop their crackdown on local media in Afghanistan.”


“The Taliban have deprived Afghan women of everything from jobs to education. Shutting down a women-run radio station shows there is no reprieve for the Afghan media even during the holy month of Ramadan. The Taliban must correct its course and stop cracking down on journalism,” the CPJ’s statement read.


The Taliban is practicing censorship, arrests, assaults, and restrictions against women journalists, the CPJ said in its special report on the media crisis in August 2022, one year after the Taliban took power.


The station is the only radio station for women in Badakhshan, in the northeastern part of the country, and has been operating since 2016.


Human rights journalist Natiq Malikzada said on his Twitter account that the number of unemployed journalists in Afghanistan is increasing on a daily basis due to the Taliban rule.



The Taliban's crackdown on media continues, and the number of unemployed journalists is increasing every day!

Today, the Taliban suspended the "Sada e Banowan" (Women's Voice) radio broadcast, which was a special media outlet for women. The Taliban's head of the Information and… pic.twitter.com/BbmfGuMMnf

— Natiq Malikzada (@natiqmalikzada) March 30, 2023



According to an analysis published by Reporters Without Borders in late December 2022, 81 journalists were killed in Afghanistan over the past 20 years.


“Afghanistan is one of the most extreme examples of regression in women's rights, but it is far from being the only one,” said Sima Bahous, UN Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director, on March 8, 2023, regarding the topic “Towards the 25th anniversary of resolution 1325 (2000)” under the agenda item “Women and peace and security.”


In response to Jusoor Post’s question on how the Taliban sees women, Aisha from the Afghanistan Women’s and Children Strengthen Welfare Organization (AWCSWO) said, “The Taliban has a conservative and patriarchal view of women, which is based on their interpretation of Islamic law. They believe that women should be confined to the domestic sphere and should not have access to education, employment, or political participation.”


She added that although the Taliban members may have mothers and elderly women in their families, they still adhere to practices of imposing their own restrictions on women, who are “required to cover themselves completely in public and are not allowed to leave their homes without a male guardian.” 


Any woman who violates their rules shall be punished by public floggings or executions, she continued.


The Afghan authorities have recently prevented girls from enrolling in universities and secondary schools and restricted the freedom of movement of girls and women, as well as narrowing public space for them and preventing them from going to parks, gyms, and public baths.


Commenting on how the Taliban interprets Islamic Sharia law when it comes to education, Aisha said, “It is important to note that the Taliban's interpretation of Islamic Sharia may differ from other interpretations. While the Quranic verse ‘Read’ emphasizes the importance of education, the Taliban may have their own interpretation of what constitutes appropriate education for women.”


“It is also possible that the Taliban may view the education of women as a threat to their traditional gender roles and societal norms,” she added.