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Female suicide attempts on rise in Taliban’s Afghanistan

AT News

KABUL – In the past two years, Afghanistan has witnessed a troubling surge in female suicides, with the Taliban’s restrictive policies contributing to a growing mental health crisis among women and girls. Despite initial promises to uphold women’s rights, the Taliban’s actions have led to the closure of schools for girls, restrictions on movement, and the curtailment of women’s participation in various public spaces.

According to reports from doctors and international organizations, girls and young women in Afghanistan are now facing significantly higher rates of depression and suicide attempts. The Taliban’s closure of educational institutions for girls, restrictions on women’s access to universities and workplaces, and the mandate for women to be accompanied by a male chaperone in public have all contributed to a bleak scenario.

According to The Week, mental health clinics in Herat province have reported that the number of female patients has surged by 40% to 50% since the Taliban took control in 2021, with approximately 10% of them resorting to suicide.

Leaked data from 11 provinces in Afghanistan, cited by The Guardian, indicates a shift in suicide demographics. While global trends show higher suicide rates among men, the majority of suicides in Afghanistan are now women. Mark Green, the head of the Wilson Center, noted that around 80% of suicide attempts in Afghanistan involve women.

The erosion of opportunities and hope, coupled with an increase in forced and underage marriages, as well as widespread domestic abuse, has contributed to the alarming rise in female suicides. Women often resort to using household items such as rat poison, pesticides, and cleaning fluids in their desperate attempts.

The Taliban’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responding to concerns raised by the United Nations human rights commissioner, denied the current prevalence of women committing suicide, attributing such cases to the past 20 years when they were not in power.

Despite suicide being considered shameful and un-Islamic in Afghanistan, the increasing numbers of suicides and suicide attempts among women are often concealed, highlighting the severity of the mental health crisis facing Afghan women under the Taliban’s rule.

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