By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 17 February 2023 • 14:26
Contraception - Areeya_Ann / Shutterstock.com
Taliban fighters are said to be doing door-to-door visits threatening medical and health staff with one store owner telling the Guardian on Friday, February 17 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.”
Pharmacists in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif say they have been ordered not to stock any birth control medicines with one shop owner saying: “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,”
Midwives say they have also been threatened with one saying that a Taliban commander told her: “You are not allowed to go outside and promote the western concept of controlling population and this is unnecessary work.”
The ban is the latest attack on human rights that has severely restricted the ability of women and girls to go about their lives, to move about freely and to attend educational institutions or to work.
Although no formal statement has been issued by the Ministry of Public Health in Kabul, fighters are enforcing the ban saying “contraceptive use and family planning is a western agenda.”
Calls have been made to abide by international agreements that set out universal access to sexual and reproductive health care, with contraception central to women’s empowerment and lifting of a country out of poverty.
Shabnam Nasimi, an Afghan-born social activist in the UK told the Guardian: “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” adding that the Qur’an supports women having gaps between their pregnancies to allow them to raise their children.
A spokesperson for the Taliban said that they did not support an outright ban adding: “Contraceptive use is sometimes medically necessary for maternal health. It is permissible in the Sharia to use contraceptive methods if there is a risk to the mother’s life.
“Therefore, a complete ban on contraceptives is not right.”
Despite that view, the Taliban are said to be doing little to stop armed groups from enforcing a contraception ban.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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