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10/04/2021 Afghanistan (International Christian Concern) – The Taliban has axed a World Bank program for women and created a ministry designed to promote its hardline interpretation of Sharia. The Taliban government announced the new ministry, saying that it exists for the “propagation of virtue and prevention of vice,” a move that directly undermines efforts to advance the rights of women and other vulnerable populations in the country. The Taliban also kicked out the World Bank staff in charge of a $100-million Women’s Economic Empowerment and Rural Development Program, which was run out of the Women’s Affairs Ministry.

On the international stage, the Taliban has claimed to be respectful of human rights but has yet to make good on their claims. Their actions since taking Kabul in August have proven anything but moderate or respectful of human rights. The extremist hardline Islamist government of Afghanistan is moving in lockstep with their historical trends from the 1990s in removing rights, freedoms, and liberties and clamping down on any form of coherent development.

The regime’s moves come alongside the imminent collapse of the Afghan economy with surging prices and the looming hunger crisis. The country’s economy was propped up artificially by foreign aid for years, and with the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. forces and support, the economy immediately began to spiral out of control.

The days ahead for Afghanistan and its population, especially its religious minorities, are looking darker by the hour. Christians have been persecuted heavily and will continue to face increasing persecution under the Taliban. The Christian community in Afghanistan is made up of converts from Islam, which makes them subject to the deadliest of punishments according to the Taliban’s extreme version of Sharia and Islam.

For interviews, please contact Addison Parker: [email protected].