Tuesday Sep 14, 2021
When the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan last month, they promised to uphold women's rights and said they would allow them to work and attend educational institutions.
The new promise was in contrast to their previous rule between 1996 and 2001 when girls were banned from schools and universities, were prevented from travelling and working, and were forced to wear an all-covering burqa in public.
While many across the world believed that the Taliban may very well deliver their promises, the on the ground situation in Afghanistan apparently shows another picture.
In a recent viral video, a girl dressed up in a black-and-white outfit, a headscarf, and a face mask could be seen crossing a busy street in an Afghan city.
Two members of the Taliban — one holding a Kalashnikov and another a stick — could be seen following the woman. As she continued to walk, one of the men ran towards her and lashed her with a stick, while another one could be seen pointing his gun towards her to threaten her.
Scared, the woman could be seen running away from the men.
The video was shared on Twitter by the former deputy speaker of the Parliament in Afghanistan Fawzia Koofi — who was the first woman in the country to be elected to the post.
"Why???", Koofi wrote in her tweet to express her surprise and disappointment at the gesture.
Earlier, in a bid to project a softer image, the Taliban had said that they would not make the full burqa compulsory for women as they did when they last ruled Afghanistan.
"The burqa is not the only hijab (headscarf) that (can) be observed, there are different types of hijab not limited to the burqa," Suhail Shaheen, spokesman for the group's political office in Doha, told Britain's Sky News last month.
Shaheen had at the time not specified other types of hijab that would be deemed acceptable by the Taliban.
Earlier this month, the Taliban allowed women to attend universities but made it compulsory for them to wear an abaya robe and niqab, covering most of the face. They also said classes must be segregated by gender — or at least divided by a curtain.
In a lengthy document issued by the Taliban's education authority, they also ordered that female students only be taught by other women, but if that was not possible then "old men" of good character could fill in.
On the other hand, Afghan women across the world are raising their voices against the Taliban's strict new dress code for female students with a powerful social media campaign.
They have taken to social media platform Twitter to post pictures of themselves, their families, and friends wearing traditional Afghan dresses to highlight the richness and diversity of their culture. The social media campaign is gaining traction, with #DoNotTouchMyClothes and #AfghanistanCulture trending on Twitter.
The campaign was started by Bahar Jalali, a former history professor at the American University in Afghanistan, to protest the Taliban’s mandatory imposition of Hijab for women.