The Taliban reportedly ended the sale of contraceptives in at least two major cities in Afghanistan, using threats and intimidation to further restrict access and undermine women’s rights in the country.
“They came to my shop twice with guns and threatened me not to sell birth control pills,” a shop owner in one of the towns told The Guardian. “They are regularly checking all the pharmacies in Kabul and we have stopped selling the products.”
The government has not issued any official policy or statement on the matter, but this allegedly did not stop Taliban fighters from visiting any shops or health professionals in the cities of Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif who would directly provide or promote the use of contraceptives. .
Taliban fighters have claimed that contraceptive use and family planning are part of “a Western agenda” aimed at controlling the Muslim population.
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Suhail Shaheen, head of the political office in Doha, told Fox News Digital he was not aware of such restrictions, suggesting they may be “a rumor that happens repeatedly”.
One midwife, who was not identified, said the Taliban had repeatedly threatened her, saying she “wasn’t allowed to go out and promote the Western concept of population control and that’s unnecessary work”.
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Another shop owner told The Guardian that fighters had decreed that “items such as birth control pills and Depo-Provera shots cannot be kept in the pharmacy since the beginning of this month”. The store owner said he was too scared to try to sell his existing stock.
The new policy would be the latest step in a series of actions the Taliban has taken to curb women’s rights in the country, starting with access to education: Afghanistan’s government has banned women from university teaching after telling Fox’s Trey Yingst News, that “every citizen of Afghanistan” had the right to an education.
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“All citizens of Afghanistan, regardless of their gender, have the right to education” in line with the government’s “clear” policy, a Taliban spokesman said in August 2022. The Taliban also restricted girls’ access to education fundamental and medium.
Women also faced exclusion from certain areas of work, as well as from public areas such as parks and gyms.
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UN Women, the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, did not respond to a request by Fox News Digital for comment by the time of publication.
Elizabeth Heckman of Fox News Digital contributed to this report.