Despite the assurance that women rights would be kept in Afghanistan, the Taliban failed to win the confidence of the women in the country as they are still feel haunted under its regime. Citing Beheshta Arghand’s example, who made world headlines becoming the first Afghan woman to interview a Taliban spokesperson live on television, the International Forum For Right And Security (IFFRAS) stated that the anchor was forced to flee the country within a week, imagine the plight of ordinary women in the towns and villages of the war-torn country.
In its report, IFFRAS said that the Taliban that the world sees at press conferences and tv studios is not the real Taliban. It is the mask of civility it wears for acceptability. Away from the glare of the cameras, the mask slips, revealing the truly wild face that has not changed since they were last in power during 1996-2001. According to the Canada-based think tank, the worst manifestation of Islamist terrorism is how they treat their women and the Taliban are no different, or worse than the myriad “terrorist groups” that are spread across the country. When the Taliban spokesperson told Arghand on August 17 that women will be allowed to do everything as permitted by Islamic law, he was telling only clarifying that the dark days of two decades ago are about to return, the think tank said.
After the Taliban spokesperson left the Tolo news channel’s studio, the Taliban’s moderate facade fell. “The Taliban ordered Tolo news to make all women wear a hijab, a scarf closely covering their heads but leaving the face uncovered. The Taliban also suspended female anchors in other stations,” IFFRAS citing The Guardian reported. Since then, things have worsened for women. In Kandahar, the Taliban heartland, women anchors and presenters were banned from television and radio. In other cities as well, women are being forced to stop going to universities. Girls’ schools are shut and in some co-educational schools and colleges, which are allowing girls, for the time being, boys and girls are seated separately, a curtain dividing them.
It further reported that girl students should be taught only by women teachers. The only exception is “old men” of good character. The Taliban will decide what good character is. In private Afghan universities, women students should wear an “abaya” robe and the “niqab”. All this and more is in a guidelines document the Taliban clerics have already issued to the educational institutions. Women employees in some banks have already stopped working. Even women police officers have received threats. Away from the urban areas, women and girls are not allowed to move out on the streets without a male family member accompanying them.
Afghan women had enjoyed unfettered freedom in the country for so many years. Samira Hamidi, who works for Amnesty International, tweeted a photograph showing two Afghan journalists, both men, Nemat Naqdi and Taqi Daryabi, showing the injuries on their bodies, the result of torture by the Taliban for reporting on a women’s rights rally in Kabul. The face of Islamist terror is back in vogue, reported IFFRAS.
Earlier, the Taliban announced a “general amnesty” for all Afghan government officials and urged them to return to work, including women corresponding with Sharia law.But, the older generations remember the ultraconservative Islamic regime that saw regular stoning, amputations and public executions during Taliban rule before the US-led invasion that followed the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. The Taliban have ruled in accordance with a harsh interpretation of Islamic law and though the outfit has sought to project greater moderation in recent years, many Afghans remain sceptical.
Also, appointing hardliners in its new government who oversaw the 20-year fight against the US-led military coalition, with no women included shows lies in store for the Afghan women.