Ever since the Taliban took over control of Afghanistan, resulting in the fall of Kabul and reestablished the Islamic Emirate it has been an extremely difficult time for the general public living there.
Under their rules freedom of speech, human rights, and many more have reportedly been curbed and downright banned even though officials claim them to be false and that nothing wrong is happening there.
Now, in the latest news, it is being said that the Taliban has apparently banned the sale of contraceptive pills in two of the main cities of Afghanistan. The two cities are supposed to be Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif. As per reports, the group claims that the use of these pills is a conspiracy by the West in order to control the Muslim population.
Ban On Contraceptives?
According to a report by The Guardian, the Taliban is going door to door and telling shopkeepers, pharmacists, midwives and more to remove their stock of “birth control medicines and devices” and to not sell them anymore.
They’re even being told to refuse customers if someone does come to buy them, as Zainab, a 17-year-old who has an 18-month-old daughter said that “I was secretly using contraceptives to avoid immediate pregnancy. I want to raise my daughter well with proper health and education facilities but it shattered my dreams when the midwife last week informed me that she had no contraceptive pills and injections to offer me.”
Zainab added that “I left education to get married and I don’t want my daughter’s fate to be the same as mine. I seek a different future for my daughter. The last hope to plan my life has ended.”
One shop owner was quoted saying that “They came to my store twice with guns and threatened me not to keep contraceptive pills for sale. They are regularly checking every pharmacy in Kabul and we have stopped selling the products,” while a midwife on condition of anonymity revealed how a Taliban commander told her that “You are not allowed to go outside and promote the western concept of controlling population and this is unnecessary work.”
A store owner from Kabul also said that “Items such as birth control pills and Depo-Provera injections are not allowed to be kept in the pharmacy since the start of this month, and we are too afraid to sell the existing stock.” Reports also claim that Taliban fighters surveilling the streets in Kabul said something like “contraceptive use and family planning is a western agenda”.
However, till yet the Taliban’s Ministry of Public Health nor the representative for UNFPA in Afghanistan have made any official comments about this happening. Shabnam Nasimi, an Afghan-born social activist in the UK speaking to The Guardian said that “The Taliban’s control not only over women’s human right to work and study, but now also over their bodies, is outrageous.
It is a fundamental human right to have access to family planning and contraception services free of coercion. Such autonomy and agency are essential components of women’s rights such as the right to equality, non-discrimination, life, sexual health, reproductive health, and other basic human rights.”
Nasimi also clarified that “It is well established that the Qur’an does not prohibit the use of contraception, nor does it forbid couples from having control over their pregnancies or the number of children they want to have. The Taliban have no right to restrict access to contraception based on their own interpretation of Islam.”
Meanwhile, midwives are extremely concerned about how this could severely impact the women’s health and reproductive health sectors of the country and result in a possible decline.
One commented that “The contraceptive ban would drastically affect the already deteriorating reproductive health situation in the country… I fear the gains we made in the past decade would be lost after this move.” While another called Fatimah said how “We are living in a suffocating environment. I have not felt so insecure in my entire career.”
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