Just like that, it happened. Foreign aid pulled out and now the Taliban are the de facto rulers of Afghanistan; a playground for them to spread their radical views.
So what does this mean for women?
Back to the olden days, many fear.
During Taliban rule from 1996-2001, women were denied education, fair employment opportunities, along with a litany of other oppressive orders. When walking outside, for example, they had to be accompanied by a male and their bodies had to be fully covered. As Amnesty International put it, “women were brutally oppressed simply for the ‘crime’ of being born a girl.” Flogging, murder, rape - anything went. So yes, women now expect the worst.
Along with that, women are depressed because Afghanistan had to be rebuilt and improved upon through aid from foreign powers. According to the U.N, since 2001, women’s rights have improved, and child mortality had gone down. In 2003, a new constitution was created with the help of foreign powers. The constitution enshrined the rights of women to vote, work, and learn and as of 2021, 27% of seats in parliament were held by women.
But the time for that reconstruction has ended. AP News put out an interesting article about the National Afghan women’s soccer team and their status as of now. It’s safe to say that they are distress. Khalida Popal, the woman who single-handedly created the team - an unprecedented feat - now tells her players to erase their history as soccer players. Popal and her teammates were “so proud of wearing the jersey… it was the most beautiful, best feeling ever.” It must’ve been hard to stomach this dismal reality.
One way the Taliban takeover has manifested itself is through the price of burqa’s surging in price as much as tenfold. This rise in price illustrates the reintroduction of the Taliban because they have ordered women to be fully covered. Unfortunately, the burqa symbolizes the loss of all the rights that women acquired over the past 20 years.
Even though this time of reconstruction has ended, feminist and human rights organizations haven’t stopped in their duty to help Afghani women. Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security has been donating money and spreading awareness about the lives of Afghan women. And Women for Women International, a non-profit humanitarian organization, has been helping survivors of war and is collecting donations.
The world is coming together to help out and it’s good to know that.