When working women of Kabul were told that they had to stay home, they went out and protested for their rights against the re-instated Taliban government.
The Islamic fundamentalist group previously controlled Afghanistan from1996 to 2001. During that time women were not allowed to attend school, go to work or even go outside without a male family relative with them. In 2021 the Taliban took over Afghanistan again. Leaving the women of Afghanistan with no choice, women are protesting and fighting for their rights against the Taliban government.
THE TALIBAN’S STATED VISION FOR WOMEN’S EDUCATION
The Taliban made a promise in August 2021 over that woman will be able to attend work and school. Taliban’s minister, Hibatullah Akhundzada claims that women will be able to go to school and even seek a higher education by attending universities. Their school uniforms would consist of them covering themselves completely head to toe. All women must wear an abaya robe, gloves and a niqab. Once their schools and workplaces are segregated from male employees, teachers, and students, women will be able to go to work and attend school, says the Taliban.
Some girls fear that their schooling will only be focused on them studying the Quran. Despite their promises many women are not able to work or go to school. Currently only 16% of Afghan girls are attending school. Some secondary schools for girls were recently reopened in northern Kunduz. The Taliban has not yet commented on the re-openings.
Taliban government, Hibatullah Akhundzada had said that women’s sports will be banned. Officials at the Afghanistan cricked board say that they have not been informed on the fall of women’s cricket. But, womens cricket players have been hiding in Afghanistan from the Taliban after some women reported violent threats from the Taliban fighters. Girls cricket programs in Afghanistan have been suspended.
Women and girls are still uncertain about their futures in Afghanistan, fearing the loss of their freedoms, rights, and lives. Due to the fear of the Taliban, Afghan women went out to protest in Kabul against the Taliban ruling. “We want equal rights; we want women in government,” women chanted.
The Taliban reacted by beating the protesters with weapons such as whips and batons, along with pointing and firing guns in the air.
“We were all beaten. I was also hit. They told us to go home saying that’s where a woman’s place is,” said one of the protesters Sara. When she tried to film the protest one of the Taliban fighters came and smacked the phone out of Sara’s hand.
The Taliban stated that protests are not banned, but those who want to protest must seek for permission, provide the location and the slogans that they will be chanting 24 hours before the protest is happening. They said that they are all for women to be educated and to have jobs. But ever since the Taliban gained power of Afghanistan, they had asked all women to stay home until the “security situation improves.”
Women protection centres in multiple provinces of Afghanistan are being attacked, and the people who work in these centres are getting harassed and beaten. Reminding women to stay at home and not to go outside.
29-year-old women’s rights activist, Frozan Safin was shot and killed in northern Afghanistan, along with four other Afghan women. It is believed that the Taliban committed the murders. “We recognised her by her clothes. Bullets had destroyed her face.” said Safi’s sister Rita, who is a doctor. “There were bullet wounds all over her head chest and legs. Both her bag and her engagement ring had been stolen.” Rita Anwari added.
Activists are now in fear for their lives, saying that they are being hunted down by the Taliban.
“It is important to create awareness and to show the true colours of women in Afghanistan. The Taliban are trying to erase women’s presence, erase them from the walls and from the streets, from schools, from work,” Zarifa Ghafari wrote in an email to New York Times.
Image Credit: Amanda Voisard