The Taliban take over in Afghanistan left many countries worldwide shocked and worried about the next chapter for the country. At this time, it is still unclear what the Taliban envision for the country and its citizens but If their previous occupation is anything to go by; people are right to be terrified. Although Taliban leaders have stated numerous times that it is a new day and that they will forgive the citizens that fought against them, many citizens are sceptical of this new government and its promises. Amongst the sceptics are women. Older generations remembered the Taliban’s severe restrictions on women and girls before the 2001 attack on America. While the next steps for the Taliban might be unknown to the masses, one thing that is for sure women’s rights will shift in the country and not be for the better.
From No Rights to Rights…
It is not the first time the Taliban has taken over Afghanistan. From 1996 to 2001, the Taliban ruled all of Afghanistan. While the Taliban’s strict interpretation of Islam affected everyone, women and girls faced the most scrutiny during those times. Under the Taliban regime, women could not leave their homes without a male escort, were required to wear a burqa, could not visit health centres, attend schools, or work. Moreover, the Taliban executed severe punishments for violators such as public executions, chopped hands for thieves, and stoned women to death for adultery accusations. After the U.S. invasion in 2001, the Taliban government toppled, and women’s participation in the public sphere rose. There was a steady increase in women in the legal, medical, and political fields after 2001. By 2017, there were over 150,000 women elected in local offices.
To No Rights… Again
As much as the Taliban would like to portray things are different and their regime will be better for everyone, not much proves true for women. In a matter of days, the Taliban has forced the closure of beauty shops, forced women to leave work, and girls to go home from school. It is an all too familiar sight for women who remembered how life was thirty to twenty years ago. Their worse fear is coming to light as the life that they grew to love is being snatched away in a matter of hours.
Many girls only know of a life where they could get an education and be anything they want to be, and to see a dramatic shift in such a short time is painful to watch. Their lives are uncertain. After all, they have no idea of the individual rights that will be restricted because they were born female. Their hopes and dreams are in upheaval because of an uprising government that considers them second-rate citizens. The main problem with the takeover is not certain groups taking back their country from foreign influence. The problem lies in their extreme conservatism that isolates a core group of people who love their country and want a say in a government that affects them. Women are just as important and have a voice. Unfortunately, with the turn of the past events, the Taliban will silence their voice once again.