Ever since the Taliban forces have taken over Afghanistan, there have been raising questions about the way they will be treating women and girl children all over the country. Many human rights activists have already raised their voices against the Taliban rule on the grounds of their previous treatment of women. However, this time the Taliban seems to take a different stance. They have informed that they will be respectful of women’s rights and do everything in their capacity so that women are not disrespected throughout the nation.
Remembering The Last Rule Of The Taliban
As the opposition forces have already started to rise in Afghanistan, the Taliban forces seem to nurture a more moderate behavior towards women than what they had done in the early 1990s. This has not given any sense of security to the Afghans as of now. Thousands have fled to the airport in order to run away from the doomed land with their children. The ones who have remained seem to be skeptical of the change.
The older generation remembers the rule of the Taliban forces in early 1990. They are fearing the return of rules like women should be confined at home, no women should be involved in any job other than medical services and women should not leave their houses without the presence of any man. Failure to comply with any of these rules would lead to gruesome punishment like flogging, death by stoning, or even public execution. After the 9/11 attack, an invasion by the US forces drove the Taliban from their position of power. Since they have returned to rule Afghanistan, this is indeed grave news for women and children.
The Islamic fundamentalist groups Taliban mostly used the Sharia law of the religion in order to constrain the women in their houses. Let us go through some of the events which took place in the earlier rule of the Taliban to understand the true plight of women in the country.
Restrictions placed on women
There were severe restrictions that were placed on women in Afghanistan during the Taliban rule. Women would not be allowed to leave their homes without the presence of any male even in the cases of emergencies. They were not allowed to wear high-heeled shoes lest they draw the attention of a stranger in an open area. Women were forbidden from wearing anything other than the burqa, the traditional Muslim attire. They were forbidden from wearing any kind of beauty accessory. Women were forbidden from laughing or talking loudly in public places. Several other rules followed this long trail of rules in the Sharia law imposed by the Taliban.
Punishments for the individuals
Failure to comply with any of these rules would lead to severe punishment as mentioned earlier. In fear of retaliation, most of the women left their jobs in order to stay at home during the last Taliban rule. As a result, there were no teachers in the schools of Afghanistan. Women had comprised the entire backbone of Afghan education till then. 70% of the women were confined to their houses and the rest were allowed to work only as medical practitioners in hospitals. This occupation was allowed as only a woman would be allowed to treat another woman in case of medical emergencies.
The nation of Afghanistan has already seen these atrocities taking place just a few decades ago. The older generation remembers those days as the dark times of their lives. The return of Taliban rule in Afghanistan has instilled the old fear in many of them. Some of them recall the days when the Taliban fighters would take away the younger girls from the households in order to marry them off to the fighters in their army. It seems bleak for the Afghan women despite the promises made by Taliban forces this time. It is even more concerning how the forces have been able to take over the country without having to use force in several cities.
A sad plight for humanity
Several women had already laid their lives in the last rule of the Taliban. This long list of names also includes an Indian name, Sushmita Banerjee. The ones who are left to fend for themselves in the barren land can only hope that the Taliban will keep their promises this time. If not, they have nothing to do but suffer and perish in Afghanistan or die in peril!