Mayor of Kabul orders female government employees to leave, go home

AP Photo/Khwaja Tawfiq Sediqi

The interim Mayor of Kabul, Hamdullah Namony, held his first press conference on Sunday. During the press conference, Namony announced that women would no longer be working in the city’s government except for when it is not possible to replace them with a man. They must remain at home until further notice.

Of the 3,000 employees of the Kabul city government, about 1,000 employees are female. While the Biden administration continues to deliver talking points about the Taliban wanting to play nice on the world stage, just be recognized as a member of the international community, this is clearly a lie. There is no “new” Taliban, a kinder and gentler Taliban who are willing to treat women as human beings, there is only the old Taliban waiting to emerge in full force. The American media is complicit in providing cover for Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, only too happy to stop covering what is happening in the country.

Women must leave their government jobs and go home, except for those who are needed to clean public toilets for women and some engineers. Looks like these are now the official work opportunities for women in Kabul.

During his first press briefing since being appointed by the Taliban, interim Kabul Mayor Hamdullah Namony said that women must remain at home regardless of their employment status, pending a further decision.

Exceptions may be made for women who cannot be replaced by men, including some in the design and engineering departments, and the attendants of public toilets for women, he said.

“There are some areas that men can’t do it, we have to ask our female staff to fulfill their duties, there is no alternative for it,” the interim mayor said.

During its reign in the 1990s, the Taliban banned women and girls from going to school, holding jobs outside the home, and isolating them from public life. The return to the bad old days is underway. The mayor’s announcement was the first to be so specific in its order to women. The Taliban has not officially announced a uniform policy on women in the workplace. The mayor’s announcement affects a large female workforce involved in participating in running a city of 5 million people.

One resistance group working against the Taliban is focused on the education of women and girls. Its message is that female Afghans shouldn’t be limited to performing household tasks. The mayor’s press conference was held after the Taliban closed the Ministry for Women and replaced it with Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. What could possibly go wrong?

The anti-Taliban National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRF) on Sept. 20 condemned the Taliban regime’s move to ban secondary schools for girls in the country, saying that it has always been separated in the country, and therefore, the question of segregating classrooms “should never arise in the first place.”

“The regime’s position as elaborated by its various spokesmen is but a reaffirmation of its long-held retrograde view that omen should be consigned to household chores,” the NRF added. “Its utter ignorance of the age-old reality of secondary education system in the country betrays the alien nature of the regime.”

Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice will be in charge of enforcing Sharia law. Small groups of women have protested strident moves against women by the Taliban since Afghanistan fell to the Taliban. On Sunday one sign read, “A society in which women are not active is (sic) dead society.” We know from past coverage, women will be beaten, stoned to death, and beheaded for what westerners consider small things under Sharia law.

Lyricist Javed Akhtar appealed to all Muslims to condemn the mayor’s remarks. He’s an Indian poet, screenwriter, and political activist so his words will likely fall on deaf ears. The Taliban does what the Taliban does with impunity. As long as Muslims in Afghanistan are too afraid to speak up for women and girls, the old ways will return. The Taliban admits they need female engineers in the country and that need will only continue to be fulfilled with educational opportunities, not less. The future looks bleak, not bright, for Afghanistan.