The Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday said the Taliban have broken multiple pledges to respect human rights and women's rights since taking over Afghanistan a year ago.
After capturing Kabul in August last year, the Islamic authorities have imposed severe restrictions on women's and girls' rights, suppressed the media, and arbitrarily detained, tortured, and summarily executed critics and perceived opponents, among other abuses.
The New York-based rights group in its report said Taliban human rights abuses have brought widespread condemnation and imperilled international efforts to address the country's dire humanitarian situation.
The economy has collapsed, largely because governments have cut foreign assistance and restricted international economic transactions. More than 90 per cent of Afghans have been food insecure for almost a year, causing millions of children to suffer from acute malnutrition and threatening serious long-term health problems.
"The Afghan people are living a human rights nightmare, victims of both Taliban cruelty and international apathy," said Fereshta Abbasi, Afghanistan researcher at HRW. "Afghanistan's future will remain bleak unless foreign governments engage more actively with Taliban authorities while pressuring them vigorously on their rights record."
Since taking power, the Taliban have imposed rules that comprehensively prevent women and girls from exercising their most fundamental rights to expression, movement, and education, and affect their other basic rights to life, livelihood, health care, food, and water.
They have prohibited women from traveling or going to their workplace without a male family member accompanying them - an impossible requirement for almost all families - and barred them from many jobs. Moreover, the Taliban have denied almost all girls access to secondary school.
According to HRW, the Taliban's horrendous human rights record and their unwillingness to meaningfully engage with international financial institutions have furthered their isolation.
They argue that foreign governments should ease restrictions on the country's banking sector to facilitate legitimate economic activity and humanitarian aid, but the Taliban also need to curtail rights abuses and hold those responsible for abuses to account.
"The Taliban should urgently reverse their horrifying and misogynistic decision to bar girls and women from secondary school," Abbasi said. "This would send a message that the Taliban are willing to reconsider their most egregious actions."
Aside from the rights situation, the humanitarian crisis in the country is reaching an alarming level. Almost 20 million people - half the population - are suffering either level-3 "crisis" or level-4 "emergency" levels of food insecurity under the assessment system of the World Food Programme (WFP).
Overall, Afghans have been suffering from some form of food insecurity since last August, skipping meals or whole days of eating and engaging in extreme coping mechanisms to pay for food, including sending children to work.
The impact of the economic crisis on women and girls is especially severe, as women and girls have increasing difficulties accessing assistance and health care. (ANI)