Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Taliban “Promises” to Respect Women’s Rights

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Esther Jacqueline
Esther Jacqueline Alabi is a writer, blogger and advocate. Her writing is majorly influenced by her passion for feminism and gender equality.
For leisure, Jacqueline writes on her blog thechiefdom.blogspot.com and watches romcoms.

On Tuesday in Kabul, the Taliban held its first official press conference since the hostile takeover of cities. This press conference is the group’s attempt at making “peace” with neighbouring nations and countries of the world.

At this conference, the group made a promise to respect the rights of women under Sharia law. However, this “promise” is inconsistent with the several acts and actions carried out by the extremist group over the last couple of days. 

According to the group’s spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, “We don’t want any internal or external enemies.” He also added that women will be allowed to take part as active members of society, as far as Islam allows.  “We are going to allow women to work and study within our frameworks, women are going to be very active within our society.”

The Taliban also declared a general amnesty across Afghanistan saying that it would not punish former government officials and added that it wanted women to join its government.

It should be recalled that during the Taliban’s first rule in 1996, women could not go to school or work. Women compulsorily had to wear full burqas in public. 

The Taliban’s press conference seems like nothing but an attempt at damage control after the US and western allies evacuated civilians and other diplomats from the country causing a scene at the Kabul airport. 

News of the Taliban’s harsh policies left a lot of Afghans looking for a way to flee the country. Citizens currently live in fear of the Taliban’s ruthlessness and have gone as far as clinging to evacuation planes at the tarmac to escape the harsh realities of the coming days. 

Other countries like Poland and Australia are also sending planes to evacuate their citizens as soon as possible. 

The Taliban has also instructed all government officials to resume their duties immediately. A girls’ school in Harat has also reopened and academic activities have reportedly resumed. However, universities and tertiary institutions are yet to resume. According to the Taliban, women would also be allowed to wear hijabs instead of burqas as they go about their daily activities. They would also be allowed to continue their education at universities.

However, recent reports from both rural and urban areas contradict these statements as it has been reported that women holding different offices have been told their jobs would now go to men.

Yesterday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made a statement assuring the world that Afghanistan will not become a terrorist state. 

Though the Taliban has said it would respect the rights of women, foreigners, and other minorities, a large percentage of Afghans still live in fear of what the future actions of the extremist group may be.

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