A recent NY Times article featured four Afghan women in the US: two humanitarian activists, a lawyer, and a journalist. The four women raised concern over women and girls in Afghanistan and fear a dark future for the women in their country.
“Just two days before the Taliban took over again, the country released the scores of the national university entrance exams. A girl got the highest score in the country. What happens to her now?” said Fariha, a human rights activist.
During the last 20 years, Afghan women made some amazing achievements including getting an education at the highest levels of Masters and PhDs, serving in public positions in many high levels, and participating in public without being forced to cover. With the Taliban taking over on August 15th, their future remains unclear and bleak.
During a recent debate between a Taliban leader and a woman journalist on TOLO news, the journalist fearlessly asked for her right to work, but the Taliban leader did not have a convincing answer. The Taliban has not issued any new order whether women are allowed to work and whether they will be allowed to participate in public events either. Afghan women took to the streets of Kabul, Herat, and other major cities demanding their fundamental rights be granted, including the right to education and political participation. When Afghan women protested, the Taliban reacted violently, by beating and whipping the women protesters. It has been a week since Afghan women, fearful for their lives have protested, as the Taliban demand that they ask for permission to protest. Many Afghan women activists, journalists, musicians, and educators had to go into hiding for their safety.
“Every single day, I wake up with a heavy chest. I was once a role model for my generation, they saw me as someone who was helping make a difference for them. And now look where I am. I don’t even have hope for myself. I am lost — lost between borders,” said Hadia, 24.
The Taliban has also changed the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to the Ministry of Propagation of Islamic Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. In their most recent action, their Ministry of Education asked all male students in high schools to resume their classes on September 18, 2021, dropping girls from the announcement, leading many to wonder and question the fate of education for young girls in Afghanistan.
Tolo Aug. 19, 2021/ Guardian Sep. 3, 2021/ MS. Sep. 8, 2021/ USA Aug. 25, 2021/ FB account of the Ministry of Education, Sep. 17, 2021