The Islamist group that is now in charge of the war-torn country has given some women the opportunity to interview their leaders. It has also allowed limited protests and vowed that women will be able to pursue an education, but an activist says it is no more than a ruse.
In mid-August, when the Taliban, an Islamist movement condemned as a terrorist organisation by a number of international players, seized control of Afghanistan, they rushed to assure people not to worry.
They vowed not to take revenge against loyalists of the previous government that had failed to flee the country. They promised media freedom and stressed that women would be able to keep their rights.
Fear, Concern and Uncertainty
But Maryam, a women’s rights activist from Kabul, whose real name cannot be disclosed for security reasons, says she feels “fear, concern and uncertainty of what’s yet to come”.
Maryam and many other Afghan women have good reason to worry. During their first stint ruling Afghanistan back in the late 1990s, the Taliban applied strict Sharia law, implemented segregation, banned women from studying, imposed a dress code and executed those who dared to breach their norms.
When they were overthrown, and Hamid Karzai became president in 2002, Afghan women were given rights and freedoms. They were allowed to participate in socio-economic life, they were able to express themselves, and were even permitted to remove their headscarves, something that couldn’t have been done during…