The Taliban entered Kabul to complete the handover of power after the departure of international troops and are expected to form a government and take over the leadership of the country in the near future. The past experience of the Taliban taking over in Afghanistan meant an era of the application of Islamic law to its ultimate extremes, a situation that does not provide a far from comfortable future for women in the current national scenario.
Social invisibility and lack of rights (including access to education), subjugation to radical Islamist precepts and even physical punishment for breaking certain rules - this is what is likely to await Afghan women in the face of the radical Taliban takeover.
Fear was installed in Afghan society after the Taliban's rapid advance and their invasion of the capital of Kabul, following the departure of the international troops that had been stationed in the country for the past two decades as a result of the operation launched by the United States against the Al-Qaeda network, which was blamed for the infamous and heinous 9/11 attacks. The American giant launched a hunt for the main leader of the Jihadist group, Osama bin Laden, and as part of the operation it entered Afghan territory to put an end to the regime installed in the area by the Taliban insurgents, a radical Islamist group, and to strike a blow against Jihadist terrorism.
In that dark period, many social rights were eliminated and a rigid Islamic law was applied, particularly affecting women's rights and freedoms. Now it is women who have reason to look on the Taliban's rise to power with shock and fear.
The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan has published a list of all the impediments that women can face under the political and social directives of the radical Islamist Taliban. According to the list, Afghan women now face 29 prohibitions that the Taliban could enforce under the precepts of extremist Islamic law. The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan or RAWA is an Afghan organisation, founded in Kabul in 1977, which fights for women's rights and for a secular and democratic society, and now warns of the danger that looms again with the Taliban takeover. According to the organisation, the Taliban "treat women worse than their animals".
It warns that under Taliban rule, women suffer from social invisibility, must be subjected to men at all times and have practically no freedoms. If she breaks a rule or is accused of having done so, she can be humiliated, mutilated and, in the worst case, killed with the approval of the Islamic State, according to various analysts and the media.
Even the UN Secretary-General António Guterres himself called on the UN Security Council on Monday for the international community to act together to preserve respect for human rights in Afghanistan. "We must speak with one voice to defend human rights in Afghanistan," said Guterres, who has already expressed "serious concern" about the rights of women and girls, as reported by the EFE news agency.
The following is a list by the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan of the 29 prohibitions that women face in the scenario that is now opening up in Afghanistan with the Taliban takeover:
- Women are banned from working outside the home, regardless of their education. Exceptionally, women doctors and nurses are allowed to work as doctors and nurses.
- Outside the home, any activity other than in the company of their mahram or closest male relative, be it their father, brother or husband, is forbidden.
- Women may not speak to or shake hands with men who do not fulfil this kinship.
- Nor may they laugh aloud or have their voice heard by others.
- It is forbidden to get into a taxi without their mahram.
- 6. Therefore, women are also not allowed to trade with men.
- If a woman needs medical attention - back to point 1, hence the exception - they may only be attended to by women.
- Women are not allowed to study at school, university or any other educational institution.
- Women must be covered from head to toe, concealing their face and body.
- Women who do not comply with these aesthetic requirements, go out alone in the street or unaccompanied by their mahram may be verbally humiliated and assaulted.
- In the specific case of a woman showing her ankles, she will be flogged in public.
- Forbidden to wear make-up under severe punishment: if they paint their nails, their fingers may be amputated.
- Along these lines, they may not wear brightly coloured or cheerful clothing. For a Taliban, this is "sexually attractive" clothing.
- Women accused of sexual relations outside marriage will be stoned.
- Heeled shoes or shoes that can produce sound are forbidden. A man cannot hear a woman's footsteps or her voice.
- Women are not allowed to wear trousers or under the burqa.
- Women shall not appear on television or speak on the radio or at any public gathering. Only men.
- Sports are forbidden for women, as well as access to sports centres.
- They may not drive motorbikes or ride bicycles.
- Women are barred from festivals such as Eid, which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
- Women are not allowed to wash clothes in rivers or public squares. 22.
- The balconies of their homes are off-limits to women: they cannot look out. 23.
- Windows must be opaque so that women cannot be seen from the street or from other homes.
- With regard to street names, neither women's names nor the word 'Woman' itself are allowed.
- Tailors are not allowed to take women's measurements or sew women's clothes.
- Women are not allowed to enter a public toilet.
- Men and women may not travel on the same bus. They shall travel in separate single-sex buses.
- Women may not be photographed or videotaped.
- Finally, images of women may not be published in magazines or any other form of publication or on posters.