Afghan women’s lives 1 year after Taliban took power

This month, on August 15, marks one year since the Taliban occupied Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, and by that, the lives of thousands of women were changed.

Afghan women’s lives 1 year after Taliban took power

 

What changed in the lives of Afghan women after the return of the Taliban? 

After the September 11 attacks in late 2001, the United States invaded Afghanistan and improved the lives of thousands of people, especially women, as they began to live with more freedom and gained more rights!

On August 15, 2021, the US withdrew its troops from Afghanistan and since then the lives of thousands of women have regressed as they were once again deprived of their rights – “gender apartheid”.

Isolated from public life by restrictions on work and education, and restricted in their travel and dress, Afghan women bear the brunt of the Taliban’s return to power. Many women have been thrown out of most public jobs or have received large pay cuts and orders to stay home.

Recently, a group of female journalists is giving voice to Afghan women to raise awareness and ask for help. Being a journalist in this country is a big risk because they are at a higher risk of being killed for covering topics that they want to be hidden.

Zahra Joya was one of the few female journalists in Afghanistan. In November 2020, she created a news website – Rukhshana Media – that tells the story of women in Afghanistan, written by women living in the country.

She grew up during the Taliban regime in the 1990s and was forced to dress as a boy so she could go to school. “The Taliban closed all the girls’ schools and only boys could go. What I wanted most was to study and so I enrolled in school under the name “Mohammad” and dressed as a boy” – Joya revealed.

Rukhshana collected the testimony of Afghan women and shared with the world what is changing in this country since the Taliban takeover.

 

 

Women are forced to wear the burqa (Hijab) 

I was walking home alone when I turned down a deserted alley and found two Taliban with guns over their shoulders. They shouted I was a prostitute because I was unveiled, and demanded to know why I wasn’t wearing the hijab. They pointed their guns in my face, and one of them had his finger on the trigger. I lowered my head and said: “It won’t happen again.”  – Samana  

“Even though it is not mandatory we are being forced to wear the black hijab to be allowed to enter university. Once we’re inside, women are under constant surveillance. There are hijab notices on the doors and walls.”  – Sabira 

 

 

Girls cannot study 

One day before the start of the school year, on March 23, 2022, it was announced that girls were expelled from high schools.

“I dreamed of going to university and becoming a doctor” – Mahvash, 17

“When I was told I wasn’t allowed to go to school, I was depressed and had no motivation to work and study at home. (…) I need to find ways to keep learning despite the ban on girls going to school. So now every day I study English at home so I can apply for a scholarship, and maybe someday study computer science abroad. (…) – Mah Liqa, 14 years 

 

Widowed women cannot work 

“I lost my husband in an airstrike five years ago, and before the Taliban took power I worked and sold street food to support my children. Now I am not allowed to work. The Taliban has given me and other widows a card to claim a sack of wheat, three liters of cooking oil, and 1,000 Afghani [£9] every three months, but this is not enough to keep our family going. I live with three other widowed women and their children, but our rent is 40,000 Afghani a month and we can’t pay it. If we can’t work, I’m worried we will starve.” – Sakina 

“Until the Taliban took power, I worked as a police officer. My husband had died but I could support my two daughters on my police salary, I could give them everything they needed. Now I have lost my job, and the Taliban have been hunting down women who worked in the security services. (…) For the past seven months, I have been reduced to begging on the streets to feed my girls. (…) – Maryam 

 

 

Women cannot travel alone 

Women cannot travel a distance of more than 72km alone. They need to be accompanied by a male relative.

“I was traveling with my brother and we were stopped at a checkpoint by Taliban fighters. (…) When my brother said we didn’t carry our ID cards with us, they got angry (…). We were made to sit there for two hours, and then we had to call our families to bring ID cards so we could return home. Since then, I do not dare to leave the house.” – Zarlasht 

 

Women are banned from sports competitions 

The Taliban’s deputy head of cultural commission declared that women’s sports are neither appropriate nor necessary and banned women from competitions.

“I had to stop playing and I was very sad. When I look at my clothes, cleats and ball, I cry.”

 

Women can’t get a driver’s license 

On May 3, 2022, instructors were forced to stop giving driving lessons to women and can no longer issue driver’s licenses.

At Peryod we intend to continue to voice these issues with the hope that one day we will be able to have a fairer and freer world for all!

 

HERSTORY Makes History 31, August 2022