Afghan women under the repressive laws and retrograde policies of the Taliban (Photo Credit - Reuters)
Afghan women under the repressive laws and retrograde policies of the Taliban (Photo Credit - Reuters)

Dark days return for Afghan women, Taliban re-imposes repressive laws in newly captured areas

ANI | Updated: Jul 15, 2021 13:19 IST

Kabul [Afghanistan], July 15 (ANI): After capturing new areas in Afghanistan, the Taliban has re-imposed repressive laws and retrograde policies on Afghan women that defined its 1996-2001 rule when they enforced their version of Islamic Sharia law.
Frud Bezhan and Mustafa Sarwar, writing in Gandhara said that the re-imposition of repressive measures is the new harsh reality for the tens of thousands of Afghan women who live in areas recently captured by the Taliban.
When it ruled Afghanistan, the Taliban forced women to cover themselves from head to toe, banned them from working outside the home, severely limited girls' education, and required women to be accompanied by a male relative when they left their homes, wrote Bezhan and Sarwar.
Many of those policies have returned in areas now under Taliban control, said the residents of Afghanistan's northeastern countryside. That is despite repeated claims by the Taliban that it has changed and that it would not bring back its notorious strictures.
"Before, I could go to the market alone to buy groceries," said Monira, a 26-year-old woman from the Shirin Tagab district in the northwestern province of Faryab. "I could go to the hairdressers. I could wear my hair up."
But that all changed when the Taliban captured her home district two weeks ago, said Bezhan and Sarwar.
"Now, women are oppressed," she added. "The Taliban says we must be accompanied by a male escort if we leave home. We must cover ourselves."
In parts of Faryab, the Taliban has banned shops from selling goods to unaccompanied women. Residents said those who break the rules are often punished, including public beatings, another feature of the former rule of the Taliban, reported Gandhara.

Taliban have erected posters in some areas to inform residents of the new regulations. In other places, insurgents have driven around with loudspeakers and made announcements at mosques.
Sara, a 17-year-old student, says the Taliban shut down her school in the district of Aqcha, in the northern province of Jawzjan, after the militants captured it two weeks ago.
"We don't know what will happen to us or our education," said Sara, whose family fled to the provincial capital, Sheberghan, which is under government control.
"All those years that we studied, and all our efforts have been crushed," she adds. "We can no longer go to Aqcha for fear of the Taliban. They say that girls should not go to school anymore."
Arefa Navid, head of the Independent Human Rights Commission office in the northern province of Badakhshan, says the Taliban has warned women not to work outside their homes.
Habiba Danesh, a parliamentarian from the northern province of Takhar, said that the Taliban is also forcing single or widowed women there to marry its fighters. Similar unconfirmed reports have emerged from other provinces under the Islamists' control.
In recent years, the Taliban has said it is committed to granting women their rights and allowing them to work and go to school if they do not violate Islamic or Afghan values. But it also suggested it wants to curtail the recent freedoms gained by women that it said to promote "immorality" and "indecency", reported Gandhara.
The Taliban's revival of its extremist policies in rural areas has filled many women in the cities with dread.
"I'm worried that women could return to the dark days of the past when we were just housewives and banned from taking part in society, culture, politics, and even sport. What happens when the Taliban takes over the cities? What will happen to women then?" asked Sanam Sadat, an activist in Faryab's provincial capital, Maimana, which is under government control. (ANI)