Will the New Taliban Government uphold the rights of woman?

picture courtesy: theguardian.com

By: Nalin Jayetileke

Since taking over control of the new Afghanistan, The Taliban has stated that Women would be free to work. However, it gave little detail about how it is going to work and what other rules and restrictions will be imposed as they move on.

As reported by the BBC on 17th of Aug, Zabihullah Mujahid the spokesperson has stated that all Afghans must live “within the framework of Islam”.

However, some of the Groups fighting for its rights fear women’s freedom could be very fragile under the new Taliban rule. When Afghanistan was controlled by the Militant Group during 1996 era, they introduced punishments based on Islamic Sharia Law. Women had to wear the all-covering burka, authorized only girls under the age of 10 to go to school

“We are going to allow women to work and study within our framework,” he said. “Women are going to be very active within our society.” This statement by the Taliban is seen as a positive sign for the future of Afghanistan as the International community may look over their shoulder to see if what has been said is being upheld by the new state. As I see it, one cannot expect the Taliban  to just open up everything to suit everyone’s wishes  and see that the international community is happy.  Expectations of the majority is that life, in terms of the dress code and the way of life for women in Afghanistan, their right to education and higher education, right to get involved in a profession of their choice and the right to be treated and accepted in the society and not be treated as inferior beings who have no voice of their own which some have respected due to religious belief, would see an end.

Being a different country, they will want to have their own way of thinking, want it to be respected by other countries as much as any other country respects another’s thinking and laws. Striking a balance here could be seen mandatory at this moment as it will be of paramount importance to see that the new state is not seen as what they used to be in the late 90’s as the international community would expect Taliban to lead their country with a difference this time around, especially when it comes to treatment of women and Children in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Islamic women in Taliban are said to be accepting to wear the all-covering burka, and are of the view that being a Muslim country and as Muslim women they should respect such norms but their main concern is not about the dress but education and the freedom to work for women. It has also been a fact that the new Taliban government announced an all-male Government and several protests are said to be taking place right now in Kabul, by women’s  groups seeking women to be included in the new government of Taliban. In such a scenario, women will now be testing the limits as a new order emerges.

Yesterday, a Group of women in Kabul and the north-eastern province of Badakhshan reported to have protested against the formation of the all-male interim Taliban government. This is according to the BBC report yesterday which highlights that some protesters have said “It is our right to protest,” said Haseeneh from Kabul. “Now that we know what the Taliban meant by their new cabinet, we will protest. They kept saying that women should wait till the Taliban announce their new cabinet. There is not a single woman in the cabinet.”

Meanwhile some Afghans from the southern province of Helmand called for other countries to recognize the Taliban government and stated that if accepted by the world, their lives are going to be much easier. If the protests continue and the Taliban suppress them, the international community may not recognize the Taliban’s new government and it will be the people of Afghanistan that will suffer, something the new state will have to be thoughtful about. Whilst this has been the thinking of an Afghan in general, there are reports to say that dozens of women in Kabul and the north-eastern province of Badakhshan protested against the formation of the all-male interim Taliban government.

Situation being so, it is too early for anyone to come to a conclusion that the new government will not make the women in Afghanistan to be treated as equals.  The international community feels that there may not be any change into women’s rights they had in the late 90’s with no access to Education and work. Given the thinking and strategies they have had in taking over control of Afghanistan, fighting a foreign force, one can only conclude and be certain that the new Afghan government does seem to have answers to such and may execute them at the right time.

Fingers Crossed!