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The Taliban have taken control of Afghanistan. What does this mean for women and girls?




For the women and girls of Afghanistan, this is the terrifying uncertainty they face now.

While Taliban leaders tell the international media that they “do not want women to be victimized,” a more sinister reality is developing on the ground.

Anderlini, who heads ICAN’s Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL), said he was deeply concerned about what would happen to the Taliban’s seemingly moderate tone once the majority of the international community has left. ‘Afghanistan.

“Once the diplomats leave, the journalists leave, the international NGOs leave, they will basically close the doors … God knows what we will see then,” he said.

Here’s a look at what the lives of women and girls under the Taliban might be like.

Will the girls go to school?

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen he said Monday that, under his rule, girls would be allowed to study. “Schools will be open and girls and women will go to schools, as teachers, as students,” he said.
But stories of premises on the ground paint a different picture. And there is a deep distrust of the militants who caused this misery during their tenure in power (from 1996 to 2001), when girls and young women were banned from attending school.

Girls who still attend regular classes “are concerned about closing school doors,” Homeira Qadeiri, a women’s rights activist and writer in Kabul, told CNN by telephone.

Education has become very widespread in the last two decades and some experts have questioned whether the Taliban would impose a national ban on girls ’education, as they did in the 1990s.

One big question is based on restrictions on girls ’education after puberty, she said Torunn Wimpelmann, a political ethnographer focused on gender policy and legal reform in Afghanistan, in Chr. Michelsen Institute of Norway.

He said there could be a scenario where the Taliban would announce, “‘We will close all universities until we can get female teachers.’ The result would be “a kind of de facto exclusion of women from higher education,” Wimpelmann explained.

“The repercussions of shutting down women’s education to higher levels or segregating it are still very serious,” she added.

Another way the Taliban could restrict girls ’access to education is to fine families for leaving their daughters out, Anderlini said. “It ‘s another way they can impose their version [of schooling] without necessarily being violent, ”he added.

Will women be allowed to work?

The last time the Taliban ruled, women’s work was banned. After Islamist militants were ousted from power in 2001, women were free to go to college and work. In early 2021, 27% of seats in the Parliament of the nation they were in the hands of women.
But while the Taliban and the U.S.-backed Afghan government have held peace talks for the past year, working women have been killed in a wave of attacks, including the high-profile one. murder of three journalists In March.
In early July, insurgents broke into the offices of Azizi Bank in the southern city of Kandahar and ordered nine women working there to leave. Reuters reported. Bank tellers were told that male relatives would take their place.

Now, with the Taliban taking control of the country, many career women worry that they will be punished or even killed in retaliation.

They include Afghanistan’s first female mayor, Zarifa Ghafari. “I’m sitting here waiting for them to come,” Maidan Shahr, 27, said in Britain inews last week.

“There is no one to help me or my family. I am sitting with them and my husband. And they will come looking for people like me and kill me. I can’t leave my family. And, anyway, where would I go? ? ”she said.

Nationally, the Taliban have said women can work as long as they do so within an Islamic framework, but how it will develop in the provinces is another matter, Wimpelmann said.

“They’re likely to have all these kinds of frames: men and women shouldn’t be alone together or they shouldn’t be in the same room,” she said, adding that this “excludes women from many positions.”

Will journalists appear on television?

Women journalists will be able to pursue their profession as long as they comply with rules such as wearing the niqab and not relating to men outside their family, a Taliban fighter told CNN on Monday.

Reporters are forbidden to talk to men or even to be in the same room as men, they would severely restrict their ability to do their job effectively. For now, some journalists are still working.

Two reporters from the Afghan news organization TOLO were back at work on the streets of Kabul on Tuesday morning, according to a tweet from media group director Saad Mohseni.

“Today we resumed our broadcast with female anchors,” said another tweet from TOLO news chief Miraqa Popal, who shared a photo of a woman anchored on the air.

But several reporters told a CNN source that they had received threatening calls from the Taliban, with calls on the rise in recent days.

In a startling indication of what the reporters’ lives in Afghanistan might soon be like, a prominent Kabul journalist said she had received a call telling her “they will come soon.”

What clothes should women wear?

In recent years, Afghan women “have been able to come out with headscarves and hair,” especially in cities, Anderlini said.

It is a stark contrast to the last time the Taliban ruled.

The women then faced barbaric sanctions for violating the so-called rules of modesty: flogged for “showing an inch or two of skin under their full-length burqa, beaten for trying to study, stoned to death for adultery.” “. Amnesty International noted.

In short, the human rights NGO said, “Women were essentially invisible in public life, imprisoned in their homes.”

Thursday, CNN spoke to a woman, in the mid-1920s and well-educated, who has taken refuge in Kabul with his family since a rocket hit his home in the northern city of Kunduz. CNN does not use its name for its own safety.

“Kunduz is not a place to be right now. No one should be there,” he said.

“I am connected with many of my former colleagues who are still trapped in Kunduz. Women do not leave home; everyone stays at home,” she added.

“Those who had jobs are afraid to go out. Everyone is afraid of the likelihood that the Taliban will arrest them outside or put their lives in some kind of danger.”

It is still unclear to what extent there will be extreme restrictions around coverage under the new Taliban leadership.

The Taliban have said that “women can do this and that if they are covered in hijab,” Anderlini said. “Now, what do they mean by hijab? Do they mean the burqa? Do they mean some kind of heavy coverage like a chador? Or is there some freedom?”

Amid the emergence of Taliban bottles, there has been a rush to buy burqas. A shopkeeper from Kabul he told CNN that their clients – mostly men – are afraid and buy burcas for their wives, daughters and other women in their lives because they believe that from now on it may be the only way to stay safe on the streets .

Will women have freedom of movement?

Previously, women living under Taliban rule were banned from traveling without a male companion. And there have been reports of militants again banning women from leaving home without a mahram, a male family member.

Even if the Taliban does not end up imposing this policy at the national level, “there are many other ways to restrict the women’s movement,” Wimpelmann said.

He noted that even since the Taliban fell from power in 2001, the Afghan state had prosecuted women for what it called “moral crimes,” which often amounted to little more than traveling without a male companion.

“Therefore, it is very possible that such processes will increase massively,” Wimpelmann added.

And that could have a big impact on women’s ability to escape abuse.

“You can imagine scenarios in which women are stopped for being alone with a man in a taxi, in a restaurant or in a private house or traveling from one city to another on their own,” she explained.

Will women and girls be forced to marry?

There are already reports of militants “taking little girls from their families or demanding that they hand over their daughters,” Anderlini said. He added that they were “prepubescent girls or teenagers, basically because of a forced marriage or rape.”

He explained that these incidents happened during the recent Taliban acquisitions of Badakshan and Kandahar, he reported. international media and she organization local partners.

It is not clear where the orders come from, if any. It could be that these incidents were occurring by “farcical” elements of the Taliban who “are not necessarily connected to the leadership,” Anderlini said.

He said the leadership could even “give different messages” to its fighters, while giving an official line to international journalists of “Oh no no, we will respect women’s rights.”

Meanwhile, on the ground, “something else is happening,” Anderlini said.

CNN’s Clarissa Ward, Brent Swails, Vasco Cotovio and Sarah Dean contributed to this report.