Taliban Says Women Should Not Be Forced Into Marriage

Afghanistan’s Taliban government on Friday released a special decree on women’s rights that said women should not be treated as “property” and must consent to marriage.

“A woman is not a property, but a noble and free human being; no one can give her to anyone in exchange for peace…or to end animosity,” the Taliban decree said, released by spokesman Zabihillah Muhajid.

The decree stated rules governing marriage, saying women should not be forced into marrying and widows should have a fixed share in their late husband’s property.

The statement added that authorities will be instructed to spread awareness about women’s rights through academic institutions and the media. The Supreme Court should also consider cases that violate these rules, the decree read.

Women were banned from going outside without a male companion and head coverings and girls were blocked from receiving education during the Taliban’s previous rule in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

Women’s access to education and jobs under the Taliban’s rule have been a major concern for the international community, with Western powers seeking to pressure the new government into upholding women’s rights by freezing access to billions of central bank funds and humanitarian aid.

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