Taliban dissolve Afghan human rights commission

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban authorities in Afghanistan have dissolved five key branches of the former US-backed government, including the country’s Human Rights Commission, as they deemed them unnecessary in the face of a financial crisis, an official said Monday.

Afghanistan faces a budget deficit of $500 million this fiscal year, Taliban authorities said Saturday, announcing their first annual national budget since taking over the war-torn country last August.

“Because these departments were not deemed necessary and not budgeted, they were disbanded,” Innamullah Samangani, the deputy spokesman for the Taliban government, told Reuters.

Also disbanded was the Supreme Council of National Reconciliation (HCNR), the once-powerful National Security Council, and the commission for overseeing the implementation of the Afghan constitution.

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The HCNR was most recently led by former Afghan President Abdullah Abdullah, and worked on peace negotiations between the US-backed government of former President Ashraf Ghani and the then insurgent Taliban.

In August 2021, 20 years after the invasion of Afghanistan, foreign troops withdrew from the country, leading to the collapse of the government and a takeover by the Taliban.

Samangani said the national budget was “based on objective facts” and was only for departments that had been active and productive.

He added that the bodies could be reactivated “if necessary” in the future.

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan with an iron fist from 1996 to 2001, enforcing a harsh version of Islamic rule, including banning women from education and employment. After the takeover last year, the Taliban assured the world they would be more moderate.

However, they are yet to allow older girls to restart education and have also introduced rules requiring women and girls to wear a veil and male relatives to accompany them in public places.