#Opinion

Afghan Women and Taliban: The Dark Days Are Back Again!

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Afghan Women and Taliban: Women are still oppressed and the cruellest examples of this oppression was seen when the Taliban captured Afghanistan. The faces of women on hoardings were painted black. Women cannot step out of their homes unaccompanied, they have been barred from offices and the university. Whips and sticks are being used against them. Can the Taliban deny the presence of women and continue to treat them in such sub-human ways? Can we turn a blind eye sitting in the comforts of our houses?

After the regime took control of Afghanistan on August 6, they enacted regulations that shackled women in every manner conceivable and deprived them of their independence. Every day there is news where through various dictates, the Taliban government is bounding women inside the four walls.

Excluded To Work

Afghan women said that under the rule of the Taliban, they aren’t being allowed to work. A Taliban spokesperson, Mujahid, talking about women in media, said, “Taliban are committed to providing women with their rights based on Islam. Women can work in the health sector and other sectors where they are needed. There will be no discrimination against women.”

However, Shabnam Khan Dawran, an anchor at Radio Television Afghanistan contradicted Mujahid’s statement as she stated that she wasn’t allowed to work. She said, “I wanted to return to work, but unfortunately they did not allow me to work. They told me that the regime has changed and you cannot work.”

women journalists in afghanistan

Images: TOLO News + BBC

Another journalist, Khadija Amin, admitted that neither she was allowed to work once the Taliban gained power in Afghanistan. She states, “We talked with our new director who has been appointed by the Taliban… There has been a change in the programmes. They broadcast their desired programs; there are no female presenters and female journalists.”

Restrictions Imposed on Women for Higher Education

Afghan women believe that under the Taliban control and their interpretation of Sharia, they will be unable to work and that their daughters will be barred from attending school. The Taliban members force women to abandon their jobs because they believe that it is “inappropriate,” and they want male workers to take their place.

The Taliban has ordered that Afghanistan women can only study in a university where rooms are segregated for both genders and made compulsory for women to wear Islamic clothes.

New Higher Education Minister, Abdul Baqi Haqqani said, “We will not allow boys and girls to study together. “We will not allow co-education.”

afghanistan university students

Image: Tamim Hamid, TOLO News / Twitter

Married Forcefully to Flee the Country

Afghan women were forced to marry outside Kabul airport in order to be considered “eligible” to escape the country. Such cases clearly demonstrate the desperation among women who fear extreme persecution at the hands of the extremist regime. Some families even allegedly paid men to marry their daughters. According to US diplomats, such situations and limitations on women could lead to human trafficking.

Must be Accompanied by Male Escorts

Women are not even allowed to roam freely in the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, according to the new law. They’ve been told that if the women need to leave the residence, they’ll need a male escort.

A school teacher, said, “No one was allowed to go out to the market without a male escort. Some 3,000 families mainly from northern provinces recently taken over by the Taliban now live in tents inside the park, some on the sidewalks.”

As Dreams Cripple, They March For Justice

Afghanistan women flocked to the streets to demonstrate their desire for the right to work, a seat in cabinet, and a future. It all started with 50 women marching to the presidential palace. They were, however, restricted near the finance ministry’s entrance. Tear gas and pepper spray were used to disrupt their peaceful demonstrations.

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Women lead resistance against Taliban takeover. Picture credit: TOI

What the Future Holds for Women in Afghanistan

The Taliban is restraining women from various activities. Recently, it was made clear that women will be barred from playing sports, such as cricket. Though Australia took a stand on this issue by stating that they won’t allow even men to play cricket in case women aren’t allowed to do so.

Human Rights Activists were unsure regarding the reopening of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs in Afghanistan after Kabul fell to the Taliban. And, the newly formed cabinet in Afghanistan has turned their doubts into reality as their new cabinet has made it clear that there won’t be any Ministry of Women’s Affairs in Afghanistan.

Now, only time will tell what the future and the Taliban controlled Afghanistan holds for women there. Would there be equality? Will women be allowed to attend school and jobs? Would women move freely? Will their voices, which are craving equality, be heard? We are yet to unveil these answers and, as time flies, everything would be revealed gradually.

The views expressed are the author’s own.