By EDITH M. LEDERER
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N.’s most powerful body is being asked to support governments seeking to legally declare the crackdown by Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers on women and girls “gender apartheid.” Sima Bahouse is the head of the U.N. agency promoting gender equality. She has told the U.N. Security Council that more than 50 increasingly dire Taliban edicts are being enforced with more severity, including by male family members. That is exacerbating mental health issues and suicidal thoughts especially among young women and is shrinking women’s decision-making even in their own homes. A growing consensus among international experts, officials and activists says apartheid can apply to gender in cases like that of Afghanistan.