The Taliban recently dissolved Afghanistan’s Human Rights Commission along with four other departments established by the country’s former, U.S.-backed government, Khaama Press News Agency reported on Tuesday citing an original report by Reuters.
A Taliban official confirmed to Reuters on May 16 that the group chose to dissolve five Afghan governmental departments due to a financial deficit. The five departments included the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), the National Security Council, the Human Rights Commission, the Independent Commission for Overseeing the Implementation of the Constitution (ICOIC), and the General Secretariats of the Afghan loya jirga, or grand assembly.
“Because these departments were not deemed necessary and were not included in the budget, they have been dissolved,” Innamullah Samangani, a Taliban deputy spokesman, told Reuters.
“Departments that are not carrying out their activities currently are inactive. At any time, if it is needed, they will be reactivated,” Bilal Karimi, another Taliban deputy spokesman, told Afghanistan’s Tolo News of his organization’s decision to disband the governmental departments.
The Taliban announced the group’s first annual national budget for Afghanistan on May 14 since overtaking Kabul in August 2021. The announcement revealed that the beleaguered nation “faces a budget deficit of 44 billion Afghanis ($501 million) this financial year,” according to Reuters.
Taliban spokesman Samangani told the news agency on Monday that Afghanistan’s national budget was “‘based on objective facts’ and intended only for departments that had been active and productive.”
He added that Afghanistan’s dissolved governmental departments could be resurrected in the future “if needed.”
The Taliban formerly ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 based on sharia, or Islamic law, as the group was founded on a fundamentalist interpretation of Sunni Islam. The system saw the Taliban enforce strict dress codes on women and girls in addition to forbidding them from attending school or work or leaving their homes without a male chaperone.
The Taliban claimed, upon seizing control of Afghanistan’s seat of government in Kabul in August 2021, that they would observe a more moderate interpretation of sharia moving forward, even using the word “inclusive” to describe its theoretical future rule.
This rhetoric has proven to be empty in recent months as the Taliban steadily reimposed restrictions on Afghan women and girls, including banning girls from pursuing an education past the primary school age and requiring women to wear burqas in public. A burqa is an Islamic garment covering a woman’s entire body that includes a mesh panel to veil to her eyes.