With the current scenario in Afghanistan, women have been pushed to the limits as their rights and their very existence are in question. As the working women are now being forced to sit at home and girls are stopped from going to school; the crisis can be seen as a parallel of differentiation to when the Taliban didn’t have authority, 2001 onwards.
Banks like Azizi bank in the southern city of Kandahar have ordered nine of its women employees along with the bank’s manager to leave and instead send their male relatives to take their place. In another case, a school teacher from the Takhar province has thrown light on how no woman is allowed to go out of their homes without a male escort.
Some girls are even said to have been lashed when the Taliban saw them wearing, and I quote “Revealing Sandals”. Their social, economic, political, and even educational empowerment being curbed with the Taliban coming to power has brought about a sense of dread that appears to be omnipresent amongst women.
Several educated Afghan women took to social media to appeal for help and express their frustration, “With every city collapsing, human bodies collapse, dreams collapse, history and future collapse, art and culture collapse, life and beauty collapse, our world collapses”, as written by Rada Akbar on Twitter, “Someone please stop this.” Another women’s rights activist in Kabul, Zamina Kakar, expressed her concerns to AP News, “Today again, I feel that if the Taliban come to power, we will return to the same dark days.”
With this pertaining issue, many women have also been fighting and raising their voices towards the Taliban’s unequal, unjust authoritarian rule. Women like Fatemah (name changed), took up arms against the Taliban. She happens to be a woman police officer who exchanged gunfire with the Taliban after they stormed her city and sustained a leg injury during the clash. Nevertheless, as she told The Week Magazine, “I fought, I was wounded, but I did not surrender”. The officer is a strong example of women empowerment with an aim to defeat fundamentalist forces, “Taliban had more losses than us. We just lost some Essentials, but they lost a lot of soldiers.
In another province, a woman associated with the government has acted as a bulwark against the Taliban, being an exception in the mountainous battlefields of Afghanistan which usually is dominated by men. “We should attract more and more women to the battlefield because women suffer the most in the hands of the Taliban,” she said.
24-year-old, Crystal Bayat is a political activist who has been encouraging women to raise their voices. A graduate in political science from the Daulat Ram College of Delhi University with a master’s degree from the United Nations Institute in Delhi, Bayat returned to her country in 2019. She has been using WhatsApp to mobilize and encourage women but despite her efforts, only a handful of women have been showing up for the protest. “Women not only fear the Sharia law, but they also fear for their lives.” Taliban has threatened Bayat several times and told her to quit protesting as women raising their voices is considered HARAM in Islam, as she told ThePrint.
We at rajaforchange, appreciate the efforts of these and many other women who have been raising voices against the Taliban during these difficult times. With the hope for them to succeed, we extend our support towards their cause.
We salute these heroes who are committed to the cause of Women Empowerment
Sources: ThePrint, Reuters, AP News, and The Week Magazine