The Taliban takeover of the Independent Bar Association of Afghanistan (AIBA) has drawn strong condemnation from the global legal profession. According to the association’s exiled president, Rohullah Qarizada, on November 23, “50 armed Taliban” stormed a meeting of AIBA officials in their office in Kabul.
Meanwhile, a directive from the Taliban cabinet stripped the AIBA of the power to license lawyers and required licensees to reapply to the Justice Department. The government took over the association’s bar account and now has access to the personal and professional records of 2,500 lawyers, as well as AIBA staff and committee members.
In a letter to the UN Secretary-General, the International Bar Association said today that the move “has completely undermined the independence of the legal profession in Afghanistan”.
AIBA was established as an independent organization in 2008.
The IBA letter asks the UN to add its voice to a public statement denouncing the violation of the independence of the legal profession. He says the ramifications of supporting the rule of law, the administration of justice and further shrinking the rights of women and girls “cannot be overstated”.