Taliban have banned the use of contraceptives in Afghanistan, claiming that it is part of a western conspiracy to control the Muslim population. According to the Guardian newspaper, in two main cities—the capital Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif—the members of the militant organisation have issued a gag ordering pharmacies to dispose of all birth control medicines and devices.
Apart from that, there have been reports Taliban fighters have been going door-to-door and threatening midwives to desist from distributing child control medicines.
“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,” said a store owner in the city.
Women-led Afghan outlet Rukhshana Media, quoting sources, claimed that Afghanistan has stopped importing contraceptives, and as result, they are being bought in secret from private sellers. In effect, their price has skyrocketed.
Though an official notification in this regard is yet to be issued by Afghanistan’s Public Health Ministry, the Guardian quoting sources reported that they were informed by Taliban enforcers in Kabul that “contraceptive use and family planning is a western agenda”.
“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,” a pharmacist in Kabul was quoted as saying.
The ban on contraceptives is part of the latest attack on women’s rights by the Taliban who have been implementing anti-women policies since their ascension in August 2021.
Women have already been prevented from accessing higher education, forced to quit jobs and restricted to leave their homes. Restricting contraceptives will be a significant blow to a country with an already fragile healthcare system. One in every 14 Afghan women dies of causes related to pregnancy and it is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to give birth.
(With inputs from agencies)
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