The National, 18 February 2023
Two Afghan journalists, Sulaiman Hakemy and Ali Latifi, have re-researched a story that made international headlines: the alleged Taleban ban of contraceptives for women. They found there is no such ban and even managed to get an official response from the Taleban:
Dr Sharafat Zaman Amar, spokesman for the Taliban-run Ministry of Public Health, called reports of a crackdown “fake”. “No one has stopped contraceptives,” he said.
The enforcement of such laws is normally the domain of the Taliban’s Ministry for Prohibiting Vice and the Promotion of Virtue. That ministry’s spokesman, Akif Muhajir, told The National he “did not accept” the reports, also referring to them as “fake news”.
Asked specifically whether contraceptives are allowed in Afghanistan, Mr Muhajir replied: “Yes.”
They were not able, however, to convincingly disprove claims that – in some areas of Kabul and Mazar-e Sharif – Taleban officals had told pharmacies, midwives and clinics of a ban of contraceptives because they also (as the original report by Rukhshana media) is based on a too small sample.
More convincing is the statement by Doctors Without Borders’ (MSF) spokesman in Afghanistan who said:
“MSF has not been informed by the Afghan authorities about any measure prohibiting the use of contraceptives within the country. All of our activities related to family planning, which we consider to be a vital part of every women’s sexual as well as reproductive health, run unhindered in Afghanistan.”
This article was last updated on 28 Feb 2023