‘Taliban turning our country into a jail for women’: Afghan students tell TNM
Afghan women are also finding it difficult to migrate as most countries have stopped providing visas for students from the country.
NEWS AFGHANISTAN WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2022 - 15:33
Korah Abraham Follow @thekorahabraham
More than a year after the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan after the chaotic exit of US troops, the regime has failed to keep up with their promises of guaranteeing equal rights for women in education and other spheres of public life in the country. From barring girls from attending schools to banning them from leaving the house without a male escort to the recent ban on higher education, the Taliban, in the words of journalist-activist Roya Musawi, is eliminating women from every aspect of social life in Afghanistan.
For most people back home in India, the series of events taking place in Afghanistan may appear to be straight out of a Khaled Hosseini novel but for women like Roya Musawi, Sediqa Mubariz or Fatima Frutan, who had to flee their homes to countries like Pakistan and Spain, this nightmare is part of their ongoing reality.
Speaking to TNM, 22-year-old Sediqa Mubariz, who was a student of Kabul University in Afghanistan, said that ever since the Taliban took over the reins of the country, there have been rampant violations of human rights and human dignity, especially the violation of women’s rights. “Apart from barring women from attending schools, participation in clubs and other organisations were also banned. We don’t even have the right to choose the type of clothes or its colour. Those who raised their voice for freedom were persecuted and punished in different ways, and unfortunately, a few days ago, even the doors of the university were closed to Afghan women,” said Sediqa, who is currently residing in Pakistan.
While thousands of Afghan women, like Sediqa, fled to countries like Pakistan and Albania, several other women are finding it difficult to migrate as most countries have stopped providing visas for Afghan students. “Governments of other countries announced many programs in the media, but in practice, not enough visas have been issued to Afghan women. Even if they are issuing visas, it is only for a small number of people,” Sadiqa told TNM.
Roya Musawi, an Afghan journalist and activist, who is currently residing in Spain, told TNM that even if women do get visas from other countries, it’s difficult to leave the country. “According to the rules set by the Taliban, if a woman has to get out of their homes, they have to be accompanied by a man – either their husband, father or brother. Recently, I spoke to a woman who was planning to leave for Brazil. But when she reached Kabul airport, Taliban officials tore her ticket and she was not allowed to board the flight as she was not accompanied by a man,” said Roya.
‘No future for women’
With education and job opportunities being denied, it’s not just the women who suffer, but thousands of Afghan families, who depend on the woman of their house for their survival. Roya points out that if the current regime continues, a part of the community will be paralysed in the long run. “In the future, we won’t have any women in any sphere in public life and this increases the scope of poverty. Families who lost men in the various conflicts over the last 20 years, depend on women for their survival. These families are losing out on their breadwinner if women are being jailed inside their homes,” said Roya.
Fatima Frutan, an Afghan journalist, who has been residing in Islamabad for the last one year said no international organisation is speaking up for Afghan women. Fatima, who is waiting to hear from the Netherlands embassy, says that Afghan women are going through the darkest days of their lives. “Women are imprisoned in their homes. Every day, we hear reports about women being flogged by the Taliban and tried on the streets of Afghanistan for mere allegations of crimes they committed,” she said.
While women are being severely oppressed in the country, some are not willing to back down without a fight. After the Taliban banned women from universities, on December 21, several women took to the streets in Kabul to protest against the Taliban. Speaking to BBC news, a female student was quoted as saying, “They destroyed the only bridge that could connect me with my future. How can I react? I believed that I could study and change my future or bring the light to my life but they destroyed it.”