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Afghanistan and Its Humanitarian Crisis

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.

 As the Taliban took over Afghanistan this past August, questions about what will happen to Afghan women surround the media. Will they be allowed to work and receive an education? Are burkas once again a requirement? Is the Taliban going to force the same strict rules they had back in 1996? To answer these questions, we must start at the beginning.

The beginning of the Taliban

            The Taliban was founded by Mohammad Omar in 1994, after the withdrawal of the Soviet forces from Afghanistan. After entering the city of Kabul in 1996, the Taliban became one of the most threatening terrorists’ groups of all times by  forcing their strict rules based on Sharia (Islam legal system), derived from Qurans, one of Islam’s holy books to Afghan people and for their misogynist beliefs and violence against women. The Taliban quickly spread through Afghanistan, inflicting fear and terror on the citizens. Meanwhile, afghans were left alone to fight for their freedom. In 2001 the Taliban were ready to surrender and the nightmare that lasted for five long years came to end. 

What happened with Afghan women when the Taliban ruled back in the ’90s?

            As the Taliban took control over Afghanistan, Shira’s rules became the basis of the Islam culture. Women were forced to wear burkas whenever they went outside because, according to one Taliban spokesman “the face of a woman is a source of corruption” therefore, burkas were a requirement for  public appearance to them. Girls over the age of 10 were forbidden to go to school, this caused many to attend underground school, risking facing an ugly death if caught. As the rules implemented by the Taliban kept growing, women lost their right to freedom. Soon they were barred from working and were forbidden from going out of their home , as well as being treated by a male doctor unless accompanied by a male chaperone. Public executions, flogging, and amputation was part of the brutal punishments for anyone who broke or interfered with Taliban rules. 

            Displaying, photographing, and filming women in a newspaper was banned. Females were forbidden to appear on the balconies of their apartments or houses and could not speak loudly in public because according to the Taliban no stranger should hear a woman’s voice. Windows and doors were being painted over to prevent them from being seen from the streets by a non-relative male. Suddenly they had lost their dignity and thereby had become invisible to the Afghan society. Afghanistan became the direct source of violence against women. 

After 20 years of restoring Afghanistan, the Taliban is back, what does this mean for women?

            In August, Afghanistan’s political leaders gave up and fled the country leaving the Taliban free to take control again after 20 years. The group quickly spread their sources and took control of Kabul on August 15. This happened shortly after the U.S and other foreign forces withdrew their troops from Afghanistan. The conflict has killed thousands of people, as afghans try to leave the country in fear that after years of fighting against the Taliban their country will become a training source for terrorism. 

On the other hand, women face an uncertain future. Although the Taliban claim that “women’s rights in Afghanistan will be respected” many females have expressed their fear of losing their rights once again. 

The Taliban claim that women will have rights “within the boundaries of Islamic law” but it’s not clear what that will mean or what future they will endure. Many doubt that the group has changed its views, and questions if Afghanistan will once more become a safe place for violence against women. 

Adriana Quiles is junior at the University of Puerto Rico Recinto de Río Piedras. She's very passionate about female empowerment and feels that Her Campus is her ideal outlet to talk about topics that matter to her and to all women.