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Protesters march through the Dashti-E-Barchi neighborhood in Kabul, a day after the Taliban announced its new all-men interim government with no representation for women and ethnic minority groups. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Taliban on Friday rebranded Afghanistan's women's ministry with the "Ministries of Prayer and Guidance and the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice," Reuters reports.

Why it matters: When the Taliban was last in power, it maintained severe rules limiting girls' and women's autonomy, and barred them from education and work.

  • During that period, its Ministry for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice operated as the Taliban's moral police, enforcing a rigid interpretation of sharia that included a strict dress code, forced confinement, public executions and floggings.

What's happening now: Women employees had been showing up for work for several weeks, but were repeatedly told to return home and locked out of the building, per Reuters.

  • The Taliban has said that women will not be allowed to work in government ministries alongside men.
  • Though the group said women in Afghanistan can continue with their university studies, classes must now be segregated and head coverings are mandatory. The Taliban has ordered secondary school classes for boys to resume on Saturday, but made no mention of the future of girls’ education in the notice, according to The Guardian.
  • "I am the only breadwinner in my family," a woman who said she worked in the department told Reuters. "When there is no ministry, what should an Afghan woman do?"

The big picture: Since the Taliban's declaration of victory in Afghanistan, Afghan women and girls have faced an uncertain future. Under the Taliban's control, they stand to lose hard-won rights to education, employment and everyday freedoms.

  • Zarifa Ghafari, Afghanistan’s youngest mayor and the first female mayor of Maidan Sharh province, told iNews that the Taliban "will come for people like me and kill me."
  • Earlier this month, Taliban special forces used tear gas, rifle butts and metal clubs to break up a protest in Kabul led by Afghan women demanding equal rights.
  • The UN has called on President Biden to assist with the deteriorating situation. "[T]he country has entered a new and perilous phase, with many Afghans profoundly concerned for their human rights, particularly women, ethnic and religious communities," UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet warned this week.

Go deeper

University of Arkansas grad student saves Afghan cyclists

Afsana Nawrozi and Farid Noori, from Afghanistan, participate in a panel about getting cyclists out of the country controlled by the Taliban. Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

Farid Noori believes in the power of bikes as a tool for gender equality and freedom.

What's happening: His organization, MTB Afghanistan, recently helped 18-year-old Afsana Nawrozi get a student visa so she could leave Afghanistan. She faced constant ridicule and potential death now that the Taliban are in power.

  • Nawrozi was a target because of her gender and sport. She has been on the Afghan women’s national cycling team for more than two years.
Felix Salmon, author of Capital
1 hour ago - Technology

Facebook's scandals have been great for shareholders

Expand chart
Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios

Facebook has been embroiled in scandal for the past five years, and while the specific allegations change over time, a central theme is constant. Given the choice between commercial and moral imperatives, Facebook always seems to choose the option that is best for the share price.

Why it matters: Facebook's stock chart supports that narrative. Since the 2016 scandals alleging that the social network was infiltrated by foreign actors trying to influence the outcome of democratic elections, Facebook's revenues — and its stock — have been soaring.

Biden to tap telecom trio for NTIA, FCC posts

Jessica Rosenworcel. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

President Joe Biden on Tuesday is expected to name Alan Davidson as head of the telecom arm of the Commerce Department, Jessica Rosenworcel as chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission and Gigi Sohn as a commissioner at the FCC, according to a person familiar with the process.

Why it matters: Internet availability and affordability has been a key policy priority for the White House, but the administration lagged in tapping people for the agency posts that oversee the issues.