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ISLAMABAD: The United States had imposed sanctions against two Afghan Taliban leaders allegedly responsible for serious human rights abuses of Afghans and restriction of access to secondary education for women and girls.

On Human Rights Day and the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Department of State, in coordination with the Departments of the Treasury and Homeland Security, is taking actions to promote accountability for perpetrators of human rights abuses, the US State Department said in a statement.

It added that Treasury Department is designating two individuals for serious human rights abuse related to the restriction of access to secondary education for women and girls in Afghanistan, pursuant to E.O. 13818. Those designated include Fariduddin Mahmood who is a member of the Taliban’s “cabinet” that made decisions to close education centres and schools to women and girls after the sixth grade.

Mahmood serves as the so-called “head of the Afghanistan Academy of Sciences” and supported the education-related bans on women and girls.

Another Taliban leader Khalid Hanafi serves as the “Minister” for the “Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice” (MPVPV) who has also been designated.

Since August 2021, the statement alleged that members of the MPVPV have engaged in serious human rights abuse, including abductions, whippings, and beatings.

Members of the MPVPV have assaulted people protesting the restrictions on women’s activity, including access to education, it added. Afghan Taliban interim regime, however, condemned the latest sanctions on its members, saying the US itself is among the biggest violators of human rights by supporting Israeli aggression against Gaza.

“We condemn the restrictions imposed by the US Department of the Treasury on IEA’s two officials, Sheikh Fariduddin Mahmood and Sheik Mohammad Khalid Hanafi. Imposing pressure and restriction is not the solution to any problem,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, the official spokesperson of Taliban interim government in Afghanistan. Despite the fact that the United States has a history of such “failed measures”, he added that it should not repeat its failed experiences.

“While America itself is among the biggest violators of human rights due to its support for Israel, it is unjustified and illogical to accuse other people of violating human rights and then ban them,” he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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