Contrasting reports are coming regarding the situation of women in present-day Afghanistan as Taliban regains control of the country and its capital city Kabul. With fear reigning high among the Afghanis about the repeat of brutal Islamist regime of Taliban rule of the 90’s, the Taliban has made a shift in its stand extending amnesty to women. A Taliban spokesman promised Tuesday that the insurgents who overran Afghanistan in recent days would respect women’s rights and would not exact revenge, seeking to calm a wary population and skeptical world powers. He has said that it will accept women in a future government in Afghanistan under certain conditions. Some are of the opinion that the change in the stand may be to help determine whether the U.S. and its allies officially recognize the militant group’s authority in Afghanistan. Taliban leaders have made reassurances that girls and women would have the right to work and education, although with caveats.
Contrary to this, some women have already been ordered from their jobs during the chaos of Taliban advances across the country in recent days. Others are fearful that whatever the terrorists say, the reality may be different. A woman rights activist from Kabul, currently trapped in Afghanistan says. “As you can imagine, in this fight between egotist men, it is women and children who get affected. Pray for us.” According to one report, Former Afghani refugee Najeeba Wazefadost has called on Australia to help women and children flee the country as the Taliban takes over. Ms Wazefadost, the founder of the Asia Pacific Network of Refugees who came to Australia as a refugee from Afghanisan in 2000, says young girls are being sold as sex slaves to the Taliban just to stay alive.
The Conversation reports that even before the fall of Kabul on Sunday, the situation was rapidly deteriorating, exacerbated by the planned withdrawal of all foreign military personnel and declining international aid. In the past few weeks alone, there have been many reports of casualties and violence. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency report, about 80 percent of those who have fled the country since the end of May are women and children. The United Nations’ children’s agency UNICEF has expressed cautious optimism about working with Taliban officials, citing their early expressions of support for girls’ education
As is known, the Taliban took control over Afghanistan in 1996, enforcing their strict interpretation of Islamic law riddled with harsh conditions and rules. Under their rule, women had to wear burqa only leave the house in the company of a male relative. The Taliban had banned girls from attending school, and women from working outside the home. They were also banned from voting and were not allowed to work. Women were subject to cruel punishments for disobeying these rules, including being beaten and flogged, and stoned to death if found guilty of adultery. Afghanistan had the highest maternal mortality rate in the world as they were given just rudimentary health care. Education of girls above the age of six was banned.
Hundreds of Afghans living in India are worried about their family and friends back home. Students in India are worried about women and girls in the family. One of the students from Chandigarh said he is in touch with his family members and the news which he has been getting from his country is ‘very bad’. The communication network in Afghanistan is intact but there is almost a complete blackout after the Taliban captured the country. Another PG students from Afghanistan’s Bamyan city said the Taliban are now abducting women from their houses. Her hometown was captured three days back. “Women had become independent in the last four or five years. They were allowed to go out. I am worried about women’s rights and their independence. Now girls like me will not be able to come out of their homes as the Taliban are hell-bent on implementing the Sharia law,” says the girl, who has no information about her family now. She hopes that the United Nations, the US and India will intervene and save democracy in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, India on Tuesday withdrew its ambassador and diplomatic staff from Kabul. India sent two C-17s, which flew into Kabul using a circuitous route through Iranian airspace and over the Arabian Sea in order to avoid flying over Pakistan or spending too much time in the uncontrolled Afghan airspace.
Some 150 people, including India’s ambassador to Afghanistan Rudrendra Tandon, were brought back on a C-17 Globemaster heavy-lift aircraft from the Afghanistan capital on Tuesday, a day after 45 diplomats and security personnel were flown in similarly as part of an extensive evacuation programme kept tightly under wraps and put into motion after Indian side received credible inputs about possible threats from rogue elements and Pakistani terror groups.