Analysis of the Continuous Suppression of Afghan Women’s Rights by the Taliban

The Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan has proven to be catastrophic for women, as their rights continue to be crushed under the guise of traditional Islamic values. Since the Taliban’s takeover in August 2021, women’s education and employment opportunities have been severely restricted, resulting in a significant regression in their rights and freedoms. This article explores five key moments in the Taliban’s enforcement of oppressive policies and the impact they have had on Afghan women.

The first indication of the Taliban’s outlook on women came when they reopened secondary schools for boys but made no mention of girls. This decision left many female students devastated, as they had worked hard for years to pursue their dreams of becoming doctors and professionals. The closure of girls’ schools continued, and their hope of a policy change dwindled.

Women, not willing to accept these restrictions, took to the streets in protest, demanding their right to work and study. However, the Taliban responded with violence, using electric cables and detaining activists, sending a clear message that dissent would not be tolerated.

The Taliban slowly implemented increasingly stringent regulations on women, including mandating that they be accompanied by a male relative when travelling long distances. This restriction further limited their freedom of movement and independence. Yet, there was a momentary glimmer of hope when the Taliban announced that all students, including girls, would be able to return to school. However, this hope quickly faded when the decision was reversed, leading to disappointment and tears for many eager female students.

The Taliban’s decree on clothing imposed strict dress codes on women, requiring head-to-toe coverage, including the face, with severe consequences for non-compliance. These regulations not only changed the appearance of Afghan women but also pushed them into further seclusion, limiting their participation in public life.

The situation worsened when universities were ordered to suspend all female education, effectively barring women from pursuing higher education. Additionally, the Taliban’s directive to NGOs to stop employing women further diminished their chances of financial stability.

Despite these oppressive measures, Afghan women have continued to find ways to resist and pursue their aspirations. Underground schools and secret organizations have emerged to support women’s education and employment, albeit clandestinely. Women have also found limited employment opportunities in sectors such as security, public health, and arts and crafts.

The Taliban’s brutal suppression of Afghan women’s rights has created a dire situation, with many women forced into early marriages or reduced to begging in the streets. The few spaces where women could gather freely, such as hair and beauty salons, have also been shut down by the Taliban government, leaving women with even fewer options for economic sustenance.

In the face of these challenges, Afghan women remain resilient and determined to fight for their rights, even at the risk of their lives. They believe that they are not the same women who were suppressed by the Taliban 20 years ago and demand acceptance and recognition from the oppressors.

The international community must pay attention to and support the plight of Afghan women, advocating for their rights and pressuring the Taliban government to reconsider their oppressive policies. Only through collective efforts can there be hope for the restoration of women’s rights in Afghanistan.