• Wednesday, Dec 01, 2021
  • Last Update : 05:29 am

'This is our homeland': Women plead for basic rights in Afghanistan

  • Published at 05:32 pm September 22nd, 2021
Anti-Pakistan Anti-Taliban Protests in Kabul
A Taliban fighter stands guard as Afghan women shout slogans during an anti-Pakistan protest rally, near the Pakistan embassy in Kabul on September 7, 2021 AFP

Gains for women under the Western-backed government were largely confined to Afghan cities, but the Taliban faced international censure for incrementally stripping them away

As the Taliban increasingly excludes women from public life in Afghanistan, some are determined to speak out despite the threat of retribution from the hardline Islamist group.

The Taliban were notorious for their brutally oppressive rule from 1996 to 2001, when women were banned from going to school or work and only allowed to leave the house with a male chaperone. 

They have promised to change, saying they would respect women's rights within the framework of Islamic sharia law, but many remain sceptical.

In Kabul -- the city that has seen the most change over the past 20 years -- some young women, such as activist Shaqaiq Hakimi, refuse to be forced into exile by a return to Taliban rule.

"I want to fight and regain the rights that they took from us. We don't need to go to another country. This is our homeland," she told AFP.

"If we are not forced to leave, then we won't go anywhere."

The Taliban claim that blocks on women returning to work or girls going to secondary school will be lifted once new systems are established.


Also Read - Some Afghan girls return to school, others face anxious wait


But this is an echo of the early days of the last regime, which never allowed women to return.

NGO worker Farkhunda Zahidbaig, 21, described how Taliban fighters entered her office to tell management that women employees should leave.

"After this, our boss made the decision that the rest of us shouldn't come to the office," she said.

"Women want to have a profession, but... they can't continue in their jobs. The Taliban have taken away their freedom to work."

'We're afraid'

Shabana, who asked to not be identified, is fearful she will never find a job again.

This would leave the 26-year-old unable to provide for loved ones.

"I am very worried because I was the sole breadwinner of the family," said the former employee of a Swedish organisation.

Gains for women under the Western-backed government were largely confined to cities in the conservative country, but the Taliban have faced international censure for incrementally stripping them away.


Also Read - Taliban allowing 400 'men's sports', mum about women


In the face of that criticism, the group pledged Tuesday to allow girls to return to school "as soon as possible" but did not provide a timeframe.

Their all-male government has also shut down the former administration's ministry of women's affairs and replaced it with one that earned notoriety during their first stint in power for enforcing religious doctrine.

On top of the pressures of unemployment, women now fear going outside alone. 

"We're afraid that if we go out the Taliban might whip us or hit us," said Shabana, who was travelling around Kabul with her father.

"We can't even go to the bazaar alone."

Hakimi said she would wait to see if the Taliban fulfil their promise to allow all Afghans to go back to work or school.

"I hope that they do just that."


50
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail