Religious freedom in Afghanistan ‘drastically deteriorated’ after Taliban took over, US commission says

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After one year in power, the Taliban has harshly cracked down on all forms of religion that don’t conform with their extreme interpretation of Islam, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said in a report on Tuesday. 

The Taliban reinstated Ministry for Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, which has strictly enforced “what they deem as Islamically appropriate dress and behavior.”

“Despite publicly committing to change and inclusivity, the Taliban has continued to rule Afghanistan in a similar manner to the way it ruled the country from 1996 to 2001,” the U.S. commission said. 

People view the damage inside of a mosque following a bombing in Kunduz, province northern Afghanistan, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. 
(AP Photo/Abdullah Sahil)

The Taliban preaches a hardline version of Sunni Islam and has killed dozens of Shia Muslims over the past year. The Hazara people, an ethnic minority that practices Shia Islam, have been displaced by the thousands as the Taliban forced them out of their homes. 


When not cracking down on Shia Muslims, the Taliban has also failed to protect the minority from attacks by ISIS-K, the report said. 


Other religious groups have also suffered persecution, including those that adhere to Judaism, Hinduism, and Christianity

“While the Taliban has acknowledged the existence of the Sikh and Hindu faiths in Afghanistan and declared that adherents are free to practice these religions according to their beliefs, the regime has denied the existence of a Christian community, despite reports of an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 Christians in the country,” the report states. 

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