By: Mehar Dhanjal
Women gather to demand their rights under Taliban rule during a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 3, 2021. © 2021 Wali Sabawoon/AP Images
In August, 13 U.S. service members were killed in a suicide bombing at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.
The attack was the latest in a long line of violence between groups seeking control of land and people in Afghanistan.
While we should mourn those members who tragically lost their lives, we should also consider those who unfairly lost their freedom and continue to suffer daily.
For a long time, Afghanistan hasn’t been the wealthiest or safest place, but recently it has become worse. With the more published Taliban attacks, multiple Afghani citizens are attempting to leave, not just because of their limited freedom, but because of the danger that the citizens know they face. Airports are full, and people have even tried to evacuate using Air Force planes.
Those who have to stay, especially women, are seeing new limitations placed on their freedom at the hand of Taliban leaders. The Taliban are forcing women to not just cover their hair, legs,and arms, but also most of their face with niqāb/niqāab, a more covering hijab. A niqāb is worn for the purpose of dressing more modestly and appropriately.
On top of those restrictions, the Taliban does not approve of women getting education, despite the strides women have made in Afghanistan over the past 20 years. The Taliban have now made it so females are banned from in-person classes and most have all rushed to register to remote learning programs. Some women have even come to the point that they are now studying in secret. These women who are going to secretly study at universities feel like this option is their only hope.
The Taliban are seen in two completely different ways: they either evoke fear or provide comfort towards the citizens of Afghanistan. To some, they are seen as protection or a type of security system, but to others they are seen as a threat and only a source of violence.
People have had conversations with Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, the new prime minister, and he explained that he has good intentions and all the rules he's forwarded were for the betterment of their society, even if it means that their rules make women question themselves.
There should be more awareness towards the effect on women, because they have stricter rules than men just because of their gender. It's sad how only some parts of the world have moved on from that horrible and depressing stage of life, where race, gender, and religion affects how you are treated.