You have probably not been able to miss these last few days: impressive images, scenes of panic of Afghans trying by all means to flee their country. 20 years later, the Taliban are back in power in Afghanistan.
What interests us today in this article is the condition of women in this country.
Who are the Taliban?
The Taliban is an Islamic fundamentalist movement whose goal is to establish an Islamic state that will apply an extreme version of Sharia law. In the 1980s, the Taliban were theology students who had been trained in schools in Pakistan, Afghanistan's neighboring country. In 1979, during the Cold War, the USSR invaded Afghanistan and when the Soviets withdrew in the 1990s, a civil war broke out. The Taliban will unite around one man: Mullah Omar. Their will is to "pacify" Afghanistan and to establish an Islamic government.
In 1996, they took power until 2001. The attacks of September 11, 2001 on American soil will kill 3000 people, and following these tragic events, the American president George W. Bush will ask the Taliban who sheltered Al Qaeda (the organization behind the attacks) to hand over Bin Laden (the leader of Al Qaeda). The Taliban refused, and a UN coalition led by the United States forced the Taliban to surrender. There followed 20 years of American presence in Afghanistan, of violence and war for the Afghan population.
But on February 20, 2020, the former American president Donald Trump will sign an agreement with the Taliban (the Doha agreement). This agreement provides for the gradual withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by May 2021, in exchange for security guarantees and the opening of discussions between the Taliban and the Afghan government to reach a ceasefire.
But on August 15, 2021, after several months of gaining territory in Afghanistan, the Taliban took control of Kabul and the presidential palace: they officially took over Afghanistan.
What are the consequences of the arrival of the Taliban in power for women?
Logically, this return of the Taliban to power worries many countries and NGOs around the world. Women are the first victims of their return.
We know that when they were already in power from 1996 to 2001, many things were forbidden. Culture was forbidden: no right to music, television, dance, or human representations. Women in particular had no rights. They were specifically not allowed to go out alone, without a male presence, nor to go to work, and little girls were not allowed to go to school.
In general, violence was the daily life of Afghans.
Today in the territories of Afghanistan already controlled by the Taliban for several months, there have already been kidnappings of young girls to marry them by force, and even if the girls can go to school, it is only until the age of 7.
Although they assured us on August 17, 2021 that they would "respect the rights video)
With their arrival, Afghan women risk seeing their rights violated once again: forced to cover themselves completely, to wear what is called the burqa, forbidden to work (so widowed women live in poverty), forbidden to go out without being accompanied by a man, forced to stay at home... The list is long, many are raped and sold as sex slaves, mutilated, and stonings against women suspected of adultery are common, in short: they live in violence and fear.
They are deprived of their most fundamental rights, such as the right to go to school for little girls, education and therefore the emancipation of women under the Taliban regime is very complicated.
However, school is essential to ensure decent living conditions for young women, so that they can be emancipated, have a job, earn their own money and not be destined to remain a housewife and live only by their role as a mother.
It is currently very complicated for Afghan men and women to flee the country because the Taliban already control all the borders and some airports in the country.
While shortly before the arrival of the Taliban all posters and advertisements depicting women, models in the streets of Kabul, were whitewashed and the beauty salons that had flourished in Kabul in recent years covered their windows with black paint, some forms of resistance movement in some Afghan cities emerged. Several women dared to demonstrate in the streets of Kabul to preserve their rights. They courageously chanted slogans such as "Work, education and political participation are rights for all women.
Some media outlets have seen Afghan women speaking out against the fact that their cause has been instrumentalized for years, and that they feel betrayed by the international community.