Women, who seek divorce, say the Taliban’s new government has restricted their access to divorce proceedings and made it difficult for them to separate from their husbands since August.
The Taliban dissolved almost every organization which provided protection for women including the Ministry of Women Affairs. They have also fired all-female judges and prosecutors from the judiciary and invalidated the laws which protected women’s rights including the right to demand separation.
“I have been pursuing my divorce case for two months,” Mina, 24 said. “But the Taliban is not pursuing my case.”
“Getting divorce has become very difficult for women,” she added.
She said her husband wouldn’t dare to beat her during the former government because she had filed complaints with the Ministry of Women Affairs which had warned him not to resort to violence. But that protection is gone and her husband is beating her now.
“Men have become more violent after the Taliban” came to power, Mina said.
She said she used to work before the Taliban and had financial independence. But she is at home now which has put her in an even more vulnerable position.
Mahnaz, 24, said her proceedings were almost finished and she was one step a way to separate from her husband before the Taliban came to power. She only needed to take two witnesses to the court and sign the divorce paper when the former government collapsed. But the divorce never happened. She has been living in limbo since then.
She said the courts have refused to finalize her divorce case.
The Taliban have established unofficial commissions to resolve legal disputes at the neighborhood level before the cases are officially referred to the courts. Local clerics and elders are members of these commissions.
Mahnaz said she referred to one of these commissions in her neighborhood.
“They ask me to tolerate without knowing about my situation,” Amina said, referring to local clerics and elders. “I am in a complete limbo.”
Even under the previous government, women couldn’t directly file for divorce. They could file for separation, and for that to happen, wife had to prove the husband was violent, drug addict or couldn’t support the family financially.
Amina, 27, a woman who recently came to the family court in Herat said her husband is a violent drug addict who is unable to provide for the family. She wants to divorce but her husband is refusing to accept it.
“I have been going to the court for about five months,” she said. “And the court has not issued a final verdict.”
Amina is the mother of two children. She said she put up with her husband for many years for the sake of her children, but she can no “longer tolerate it.”
Her husband refused to appear in front of court.
“He always beats me,” she said. Once, “he hit me with a brick on the head when I asked him to work and bring bread to eat.”
Samira Akbari, a former female prosecutor who has been dismissed by the Taliban, said the removal of female judges and prosecutors and dissolving women’s rights organizations are the main obstacles on the way of women who seek divorce.
“The signs of the beating of women were checked by female prosecutors in the judiciary” before Taliban government, she said. “But my question is how can a woman show the signs of her husband’s beating” to a man.
The Taliban judiciary couldn’t be reached for comment.
Note: We have not used the real names of Mina, Amina, and Mahnaz at their request.