EU sanctions three senior Taliban leaders over women’s rights abuses

The European Council has taken action against individuals and entities involved in human rights violations across various countries, including Afghanistan, South Sudan, Central Africa, Ukraine, and Russia.

Among those targeted are three senior Taliban leaders, Abdul Hakim Haqqani, Abdul Hakim Sharei, and Mawlawi Habibullah Agha, who have been directly responsible for denying women and girls their rights to education, equal treatment, and access to justice.

The EU’s sanctions include freezing the assets of these individuals and prohibiting EU citizens and companies from providing them with funds. Additionally, they are subjected to a travel ban, preventing them from entering or transiting through EU territories.

Abdul Hakim Haqqani, as the Taliban’s head of the Supreme Court, has enforced gender-based repression, leading to the exclusion of women from public life in Afghanistan. Mawlawi Habibullah Agha, the Taliban Minister of Education, enforced policies that denied girls access to education. Abdul Hakim Sharei, the Taliban Minister of Justice, obstructed women’s access to legal representation and positions within the justice system.

In response to the sanctions, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid criticized their effectiveness, calling for countries to engage in dialogue and cooperation instead.

The EU has previously imposed sanctions on other Taliban officials for their involvement in human rights abuses. In March, Taliban ministers of higher education and the propagation of virtue and the prevention of vice were sanctioned for banning women from higher education and promoting gender-segregated practices in public spaces.

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