Taliban Infringes on Women’s Rights in Afghanistan

On July 12, 2021, an innocent mother was brutally murdered by Taliban fighters in her Faryab home. In the same month, both women and girls were forcefully rounded up to be married to Taliban soldiers or sold into sex slavery. Now, just under two months later, the Taliban has restricted university education for women alongside men in Afghanistan. The list of injustices goes on.

     After about 20 years of absence, the Taliban has seized government power following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan on Aug. 15. Since then, they have gained control of practically every district of the country, causing fear and chaos to ensue among Afghan citizens, especially women.

     Because Ursuline is an all-girls school, dedicated to the mission of supporting the development of strong, independent young women, this issue must be recognized. It is a feminist matter that corrupts equity and is currently devastating the lives of many women and children.

     Historically, the Taliban regime effectively eliminated basic human rights for women. They were ousted from the workforce, unable to attend school, could not leave their home without the company of a male relative and were forced to wear full-coverage garments.  Women were even restricted from receiving proper healthcare, as they were prohibited to see male doctors, yet women were not able to assume medical positions or any other occupation by law. Since their recent reoccupation of Afghanistan, the situation has only escalated for the worse.

     A new generation of women, unfamiliar with the strict terror the Taliban has inflicted in the past, have lived with inalienable rights. Unlike women in the 90s, who were brutally beaten and even killed for disobeying Taliban laws, they could own businesses, wear clothing freely, and get an education. Now, specifically in the capital city of Kabul, the street is completely empty of women. Any woman who is on the streets is wearing a burqa, a customary black Islamic garment that was considered untraditional in the city, with a male escort. All female-run businesses, restaurants, and hair salons have closed down for an indeterminate amount of time.

     The direct impact on women is even altering the field of journalism, as many female reporters are also being affected by the harsh regulations set by Taliban officials. An unknown source, who herself is an Afghan journalist, has been changing her address so that the Taliban officers will not be able to find her.

     “I don’t know what will happen to me, because if they find me, they will kill me,” she said.

     Fox News has protected her identity for this very reason. Additionally, popular CNN broadcast journalist Clarissa Ward, prior to the Taliban takeover of Kabul, was wearing her traditional work attire on camera. However, just hours after their reappearance, she was recorded completely covered in a black burqa.

     Many political figures are displaying their concern for the fate of women and young girls in the country and are hoping to keep an active stance on the issue.

     French President Emmanuel Macron said, “Afghan women have the right to live in freedom and dignity.”

     Additionally, President Joe Biden stated that the U.S. military can try to get as many women out of Afghanistan as possible.

     He said, “The way to deal with [women’s rights] is putting economic, diplomatic, and international pressure on [leaders] to change their behavior.”

     The Taliban leaders are trying to rationalize their inhumane actions toward women, stating that they are connecting the rights of women within the context of the Islamic rules, which is not the case. With the future of Afghanistan unknown, it is difficult to imagine the future of women and children. With international help, however, it is possible to seek justice and secure the rights that Afghan women deserve.

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