Daily US Times: As the Taliban tightens its grip over Afghanistan, there are raising questions about the military group’s claim to respect women’s rights.
Last month, when Taliban soldiers moved into western Afghanistan’s Herat city, one thing mattered more to some people than the battle itself. As gunmen faced off around the governor’s office, a group of Taliban fighters came to Shogofa’s* workplace and ordered all the women home.
She said: “They had not even taken all the city, but they came to our headquarters. The manager called an emergency meeting and they told all the women to leave.”
As the main breadwinner for her disabled brother and widowed mother, losing her job means destitution. So she decided to publicly challenge Afghanistan’s new rulers on Thursday. She, along with about 40 or 50 other women walked to the seat of city government chanting: “No fear, we are united.”
Since taking control over Afghanistan, Taliban high officials and spokesmen have promised to respect women’s rights to education and work, albeit within an Islamic framework they refuse to define.
Taliban’s promise has prompted an international discussion about how much the militant group has changed since they ruled the country with extreme and oppressive misogyny in the 1990s, barring women from almost all education and work.
There have been calls from abroad to give the Taliban some time to form a government and layout its policy before pressing too hard on women’s rights.
But there is increasing evidence from across the country that the biggest changes may be in messaging, rather than ideology.
Reports say gunmen ordering bank tellers out of their jobs in Kandahar, while women protesting in Herat had been stripped of their jobs two weeks ago.
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