taliban: Anxiety and fear for women in Taliban stronghold – Times of India

KANDAHAR: Afghan pupil Fauzia used to make ends meet voicing advertisements on a radio station in the Taliban heartland of Kandahar, however that got here to an abrupt finish when the Islamists swept to energy in August.
Their order was clear: no feminine voices on the air.
Afghanistan’s new rulers have promised extra reasonable governance than their final stint in energy, when women had been all however barred from work and training, and prohibited from leaving the home unchaperoned.
But there’s widespread distrust in their women’s rights pledge. Most women across the nation have been barred from attending secondary college, and most women have been unable to return to work.
When AFP visited Kandahar final month, only some women had been seen in the dusty procuring streets of the southern metropolis, swiftly lugging baggage from retailer to retailer whereas sporting the top-to-toe burqa.
The Taliban “posted messages on Facebook saying they did not want to hear any more music or female (voices) on air,” mentioned Fauzia, who requested to not use her actual identify.
The 20-yr-outdated medical pupil’s scenario has change into more and more determined after dropping her revenue from radio advertisements — Fauzia and her 4 youthful siblings are orphans, and she is struggling to place meals on the desk.
Despite Taliban guarantees of a softer rule this time round, women stay depressed and unclear about their place in society, whereas companies that when employed them are cautious of upsetting the Islamists.
Fauzia’s former boss mentioned the radio station felt pressured to cease airing advertisements with women’s voices.
She has been handing out our resumes throughout Kandahar, with none luck.
“I am told to wait,” she mentioned.
Since taking energy, the Islamists have repeatedly mentioned they are going to respect women’s rights in the confines of Islamic regulation, with out elaborating.
Women, with some exceptions, have been barred from returning to work or training, and informed that they have to maintain off till preparations have been made, together with the segregation of males and women.
So far, “we haven’t banned anything for women”, Mullah Noor Ahmad Saeed, a Taliban official in Kandahar province, informed AFP
“If they don’t feel secure or don’t go back to work, it is their fault.”
But many are sceptical.
“In the streets, people don’t say anything, but we noticed bad looks from the Taliban,” mentioned Fereshteh Nazari, who has been capable of return to work as the top of a women-solely main college.
Women lecturers and women, nonetheless, have been excluded from returning to secondary college.
“Before we used to be happy to come to school. Now we’re under stress,” Nazari informed AFP on the college.
On the day AFP visited, some 700 college students had been current, lower than a 3rd of the two,500 women enrolled.
“Most parents don’t send their girls to school after the age of 10 because they don’t feel secure,” Nazari mentioned.
Zohra, a arithmetic main in her 20s who requested to not use her actual identify, is among the many college students staying away, her fear compounded by rumours of a looming violent Taliban crackdown.
“For me, life is more important than anything else,” she informed AFP by cellphone.
For many women, the power to work is essential now greater than ever as Afghanistan suffers a worsening financial disaster.
It has had a extreme affect even on the few women nonetheless allowed to work — Nazari and her instructor colleagues haven’t acquired their salaries because the Western-backed authorities collapsed in August.
“Before, we had a good life. Now we might have to go and beg at the bazaar,” mentioned the headmistress, who’s in her 20s.
“My husband is jobless, and we have to feed our two kids.”
The Taliban have promised all Afghans safety and peace, together with women.
But for Fauzia, the mere presence of the Islamists places social strain on women to remain away.
“Except (for) groceries, we don’t go anywhere else,” she mentioned, and even then, women “come back home very quickly”.
“Even my little brother tells me to cover my face, to not see friends anymore, and not to go anywhere except classes,” Fauzia mentioned.
It is a jarring change for many younger Afghan women, who benefited from the earlier authorities’s push for women’ training.
“We want freedom,” mentioned a 12-yr-outdated woman in the yard of Nazari’s college.
But she added that with the Taliban now in energy, women and women must do “whatever they say”.
“If not, we’ll face problems.”

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