The Women of Afghanistan

By: Nupur Kudapkar

In the wake of the Taliban takeover, women must cope with the unsettling certainty regarding jobs, homes, education, and independence. Afghanistan, a country filled with vibrant culture located in South Asia now lives in fear as the Taliban gains control.  What does this mean for the women of the country? Multiple organizations and governments have labeled the Taliban as a terrorist organization, and as more survivor accounts emerge, we learn just how ruthless they truly are. Previously, they have shown unacceptable violence towards women. This time, the terrorist group assures the press that the women will not face violence all within the bounds of the “Islamic law”.  Previously, under Taliban rule, women were denied any human rights including their ability to work, visibility, access to education, voice, healthcare, and movement. The Taliban enforced harsh rulings when they took power in 1996, including banning women from the working population, closing schools to girls and women, expelling women from universities, prohibiting women from leaving their homes unless accompanied by a close male relative, ordering the publicly viewable windows of women’s houses, painted black, and forcing women to wear the burqa, which covers the entire body. Women and girls did not have the opportunity to see male physicians, and female doctors and nurses had no authorization to work. Women were subjected to brutality, harsh torture, and murder for defying Taliban commands. In Kabul, a few secret home schools for females remained by women who operated them, they risked being severely beaten or losing their lives. The Taliban twist the Islamic law into their own words to justify their wrong-doing, giving Islam a bad reputation. There already exist signs that the Taliban hangs onto their thoughts, such as reinstating their old ways. Some of the nonmetropolitan areas have been flooded with Taliban rules. As buildings shut down, members of this awful group guard the entrances, preventing women from entering. Such women have started wearing head-to-toe burqas in fear. For young girls, the Taliban era seemed ancient, and rewinding the clock makes their future uncertain. The progress that the women of Afghanistan have made in terms of rights might vanish. Since the Taliban’s fall in 2001, women have made a lot of progress, but the 14 million girls and women in the country are now in a dangerous humanitarian crisis.