What Will Happen To the Women In Afghanistan?

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Will Afghan Women Have Fewer Freedoms With the Taliban In Power?.

Women in Afghanistan

One of the issues that most concerns the international community about this country is the future of women and their rights. Photo: Pixabay

LatiAmerican Post | María Fernanda Ramirez Ramos

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Leer en español: ¿Qué le espera a las mujeres en Afganistán?

Between 1996 and 2001 Afghanistan was ruled by the Taliban regime, an ultra-conservative group that emerged as a resistance to the Soviet occupation in the 1980s. 20 years after this Taliban regime surrendered to the military offensive of the United States and its allies, they once again return to power and endanger the Afghan people.

With the takeover of the main cities of the country and the control of the government by the Taliban group, chaos and fear have taken over the streets. One of the issues that worries the international community is the future of Afghan women and their rights.

Hopelessness and uncertainty

The fears for the future of women are not unfounded; 20 years ago, under the first Taliban regime, women were not allowed to work, study, vote or be represented on the public stage. Likewise, makeup was prohibited, as well as going out without covering up completely, laughing out loud, and going out without the company of a man.

However, the restrictions of the time were not only for women, men also had to adhere to strict rules of behavior. Various games, shows, and television programs, among others, were banned. Likewise, the Taliban are remembered for the brutality of their punishments, human rights violations, and violent methods to stay in power.

The whole world remembers the story of Malala Yousafzai, the activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner who in 2012, was shot in the head and neck by a Taliban group in Pakistan, for speaking on the internet about the conditions imposed by the regime and defending the right of girls to study.

Regarding the recent events, Malala expressed her concern for minority rights through her Twitter account. This claim has been echoed by various voices such as the Afghan film director Sahraa Karimi, the activist Mahbouba Seraj and various humanitarian organizations.

In addition, some Afghan women have begun to demonstrate in the streets to defend their rights and demonstrate their opposition to the repression. In this regard, Zabihulá Mujahid, the spokesman for the Taliban group, assured that they intend to respect women's rights within Islamic law and forgive those who supported the Americans. All this in a conciliatory style that arouses skepticism in society.

Regarding Islamic or Sharia law, it should be noted that it is not an oppressive system in itself, as some groups seem to point out. Sharia is based on a prophetic tradition and on the holy books of Islam, and has developed accordingly in various different contexts. 

Therefore, it is important to separate the Sharia as a system and the reading that this group makes of it. In conclusion, it can be said that the Taliban have a reading of the extremist Sharia that fits their interests and interpretations but does not represent the thinking of the majority of Muslims.

This part is key to understanding the eventual changes that women will adopt in their daily lives if the Taliban continue with the strict system they imposed 20 years ago. It should be noted that Afghanistan is a country with a Muslim majority, in which women have the right to study, work, and divorce, and had achieved various economic and social rights in recent years.

Also read: Afghanistan Today: 10 Years After Bin Laden's Death

With the rise of the Taliban all these rights are endangered. Despite what Zabihulá Mujahid said, a few hours after the Taliban took the streets, international media warned of the murder of a woman in Taloqan, Takhar province (northeast), for leaving home without a burqa.

CNN journalist Clarissa Ward has become a representative figure in covering the situation in Kabul. However, she has had to rectify inaccurate comments that have been made about her situation. For example, regarding the obligation to cover her hair in public spaces.

It should be noted that Afghanistan is a country with a complex and painful history, and it is not the first time that women bear the brunt of the conflict. The situation of Afghan women has also been exploited by the United States to defend its war policies in the area and legitimize actions in favor of their interests.

In this regard, there are organizations such as the Rawa, the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan, which since 1977 have defended human rights and social justice, and have demonstrated against fundamentalist groups, but also against imperialism.