Afghanistan: the courage of women under the yoke of the Taliban

the essential Since coming to power in mid-August, the Taliban have restricted the freedoms of Afghan women. They no longer have the right to go to work. They fear a total erasure of their social role.

Despite the fear of reprisals, they are still there. More than a month after the Taliban seized power in Kabul and almost all of Afghanistan, dozens of women are pounding the streets to make their rights heard. In the middle of the streets of Kabul, loudspeaker in hand and fist raised, students, activists, workers, young artists, unite their voices for a single cause: to claim a place in the new Afghan society now in the hands of rigorous Islamists.

“The international community must hear the voice of Afghan women”, they proclaim, in front of the stunned Taliban militias, armed with Kalashnikovs. They are between 20 and 20 years old and challenge the new masters of Kabul, in the face and the beards of religious leaders newly installed in power. Unthinkable scene in 1996, when the fundamentalists invaded the capital and imposed Sharia, Islamic law.

“Today, women are forced to stay at home,” testifies a journalist from the country, while several of her sisters have been forced to quit their jobs. The power in place does not allow women to work. We women have demonstrated for several days in a row for women’s participation in government, but we have faced violence ”. None of them figure in the new government in place. Girls’ schools are closed beyond the sixth grade. Only boys are allowed to go to schools. Before the Taliban arrived, 2.2 million Afghan girls still did not go to school, according to an Amnesty International report.

To read also: MAINTENANCE. Situation of women in Afghanistan: “International pressure can have a decisive role”

At the same time and in the last 15 Afghan women have become lawyers, doctors, judges, teachers, engineers, athletes, activists, politicians , journalists, civil servants, business leaders, police officers or members of the armed forces. According to the Reporter Without Borders association, 700 women journalists were registered in Kabul, before 15 August and the arrival of the Taliban. Today, they would be less than 30 in activity.

“Westerners must hear the voice of Afghan women “

In Kabul, private media officials quickly observed that female reporters were being harassed. One of them, Nahid Bashardost, who works at the independent news agency Pajhwok, was beaten by the Taliban while reporting near Kabul airport. It would not be an isolated case.

Thousands of Afghan women enrolled in university can no longer continue their education. The Taliban are forcing them to take a radical step back to the point of denying all social life. “When they go out, they must be accompanied by a tutor,” notes a journalist on the spot. All fear a setback and abandonment of their rights acquired through hard work over the past twenty years.

To read also: “Women no longer have the right to do anything”: the poignant testimony of a young Afghan girl

Wearing the hijab with a very long dress and a black scarf covering the entire face is now the dress imposed on women by fundamentalists. “For now, this country is still very much watched by the international community and the Taliban leaders know it. This is why they have not yet implemented their entire program vis-à-vis the female community. They are trying for the moment to give a positive image ”, assures an observer. But for these thousands of women who are already seeing their freedom violated, everything indicates that the Taliban belief of 2021 draws its sources from that of 1996.

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