Yesterday, the Taliban tried to show that there is no need to worry about the new regime in Afghanistan. According to Afghan expert Anne Kwakenbos, who worked in the country on Cordide’s behalf until the beginning of this month as a gender and women’s rights expert, this is a deliberate tactic. The Taliban have something to gain from the international community, they want to look good.”
Women’s rights, which are a major concern internationally, were also discussed. And although the Taliban tried, concerns about the issue never subsided.
Bad messages from Herat
Quakenboss: “Reports that women’s rights are guaranteed give hope. But very cautiously.” There is a lot of uncertainty about what women should and should not be allowed to do under Islamic law. Can they go to school or not? Can they work or not ?
According to Quakenboss, much remains unclear for the women in Kabul, but reports from other Afghan regions are not hopeful. “The story from Herat (Afghanistan’s second largest city, ed.) is now that women are no longer allowed to go to work there. There are reports of an area where the Taliban were touring to make a list of marryable girls.”
“It also indicates that there is no unambiguous policy.” The status of women is not the same in every region. Now the Taliban appears to be deliberately ambiguous about women’s rights, says Kwakenbos, from Kabul.
In this way, each region can apply its interpretation of Islamic law. This leaves women in Afghanistan in limbo. They see what’s happening in other areas.”
He also witnessed the press conference of the Afghan-born Taliban Amsterdam Siweta and Zutphen Homa. Sweta was angry and did not think the Taliban cared about women’s rights.
“They don’t want to stand out with this, make sure the attention wanes. If no one’s watching, they’ll have a strict discipline behind everyone’s back. With this press conference they want to make sure they get help eventually, but that’s my worst nightmare.” We cannot and should not believe this.”
Homa also sees the situation of Afghan women as bleak. “Women will be severely restricted, and Afghanistan will go back further in time. What is happening now is not normal, people are worried and terrified.”
Don’t go out to the street
Kwakkenbos had hoped it would become more clear at the press conference about the status of women in Afghanistan, but the situation has become more murky. “The people I worked with when I was in Afghanistan don’t dare go out on the streets now.”
“The time to come will show whether the leaders in Kabul have an influence on the rest of the provinces in terms of women’s rights. After all, for the Taliban, women’s rights remain a Western product and Taliban supporters are opposed to everything that comes from the West.”
Previously, there were no equal rights
Between 1996 and 2001, the Taliban was also in power in Afghanistan and even then Islamic law was in force in the country. During that period, the Taliban forced women to stop working. Girls were not allowed to go to school. Also, only women were allowed to go out accompanied by a male relative and in special clothes.
Internationally, women’s rights in Afghanistan are an important topic. Several countries have informed the Taliban that equal rights for women are a prerequisite for cooperation.
This is what the US ambassador to the United Nations told the news agency Reuters That “if the Taliban are taken seriously, they should realize that they will be very careful about how women and girls are treated in the country.” The EU has expressed its willingness to cooperate only if the Taliban respect basic rights, such as the equal rights of women.
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