Taliban means ‘students’ in the Pashto language. They refer to themselves as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA). Currently, it is one of the two groups claiming to be the legitimate governmental organization of Afghanistan, alongside the Internationally recognized Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. In 1995, they captured the area of Herat bordering Iran, and in 1996, exactly one year later they captured the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul, and threw out the regime of President Burhanuddin Rabbani.
The ideology of Taliban can be described as a form of Sharia Islamic law based on Deobandi Fundamentalism and Militant Islamism, that combined with Pashtun norms is called Pashtunwali. Most of the Taliban are Pashtun and they are known for their patriarchal and strict rules.
How Was The Taliban Formed?
Mullah Mohammad Omar, in September 1994, in his hometown of Kandahar, with mere fifty students formed this group. He was particularly unhappy about the fact that Islamic Law was not followed in Afghanistan. After a few months, the number of students grew from fifty to fifteen thousand. All these people were often Afghan Refugees from religious schools or madrasas.
On November 3rd of 1994, the Taliban attacked and conquered Kandahar city. They captured 12 Afghan provinces before the 4th of January 1995. They extended their base from Kandahar city to various parts of Afghanistan and moved towards Kabul, but they were defeated by the Islamic State of Afghanistan. While retreating from Kabul, the Taliban killed many civilians.
They managed to conquer Herat on 5th September 1995 and then took over the power in Afghanistan in 1996.
Rule Of Taliban In Afghanistan
From the year 1996 to 2001, the Taliban took over power and captured about three-quarters (90%) of Afghanistan by the year 1998, and imposed strict Sharia Law. Initially, the Taliban was welcomed by Afghans. They became popular by scraping out corruption, controlling lawlessness. They also renovated the roads. The area that used to be under their control flourished.
They introduced severe forms of punishment. Murderers and adulterers were publicly executed and amputation was done on convicted thieves. This type of punishment was largely done for scaring people rather than managing the law in Afghanistan. Taliban have been condemned internationally for the harsh laws they imposed on the Afghan people. Several massacres took place in Afghanistan. The Afghan civilians were denied food supplies from the UN. 160,000 civilians starved to death, and if that was not enough, the Taliban burned vast areas of fertile land and destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes and their livelihoods. When they used to rule in Afghanistan, they banned media activities completely, especially movies that showed people or other living entities. Playing of music was also banned in Afghanistan except for daf, which is a type of frame drum.
The cruelty that the Taliban showed on Afghan people, especially on women and minorities, holds a vast history. They banned women from the basic right to education. Women could no longer do any job. According to their laws, women should always go outside with a male blood relative and must wear burqas all the time. If any women dared to break the rules stated by the Taliban, they were publicly whipped and even executed. Women trafficking and forced marriages took place. Taliban treated minorities of Afghanistan very inhumanely. They performed cultural genocide and destroyed numerous monuments, one of them being Buddhas of Bamiyan that was 1500 years old.
Treatment Of Women By The Taliban
It is a well-known fact that the Taliban never really respected women and neither did they do anything for the improvement of their lives. From the age of mere eight years, girls in Afghanistan were not allowed to be in contact with any male counterparts other than blood relatives. This was not the only restriction. Many other restrictions were imposed on them, as follows-
- Women were denied education. Girls above the age of eight were not allowed to go to school.
- Women were deprived of the health care facilities under the rule of the Taliban
- Women were not allowed to go out without wearing a burka. They were only allowed out with a male blood relative.
- A hideous law was put forward by the Taliban that said that women should not wear high-heeled shoes as men can get excited by the sounds of their footsteps.
- Women’s rights were already taken by the Taliban. They also took the freedom of speech by all means. Women were not allowed to speak loudly in public places as no stranger should hear a woman’s voice.
- All the ground and first-floor residential buildings’ windows must be painted or screened to prevent women from being seen from the street.
- The patriarchal and oppressive rules were not limited just outside their house. Women are banned from appearing on the balconies of their houses as well.
Taliban affected women mobility as well-
- Riding bicycles or motorcycles were banned for women.
- Women were banned from riding in taxis without a male blood relative.
- Segregation of bus services was introduced to prevent males and females from traveling on the same bus.
These rules are just a glance of what the Taliban put upon Afghan women. The tales of the execution of women in public for not following some basic laws are true.
- In October 1996, a woman’s tip of thumb was cut off for wearing nail varnish.
- In December 1996, 225 Kabul Women were seized and punished for violating the sharia code of dress. The women were lashed on their legs and back.
These are just two of many executions, assaults, and inhuman behavior they did towards women of Afghan.
Taliban In 2021
After 20 years of fighting, it seems like the Taliban finally won the battle. Though the leaders promised that women will have the same amount of respect and opportunities as men in the country, it does not fit well. After coming in power, the schools were shut and many women were told to stay at home instead of going to shop. Many banners of beautiful women were scraped off by the Taliban. The news about assaults on women has been airing all over the world once again.
Looking at the history of the Taliban, it is rather very unimaginable that they will give women equal status. Even after fighting for their rights over the past years, Afghan women will suffer again under the rule of the Taliban, because they act according to “Religion”. They have also mentioned how they will let women do all the work that falls under their “religion”.
The methods being adopted by the Taliban might be different this time, but with hands full of guns and a history of oppression, patriarchal law, and misogynistic behavior towards women, it is unlikely that women of Afghan will be safe and sound.
The methods being adopted by the Taliban might be different this time, but with hands full of guns and a history of oppression, patriarchal law, and misogynistic behavior towards women, it is unlikely that women of Afghan will be safe and sound. We can not forget about the fact that the Women of Afghanistan have already seen enough in these years of wars and somewhere they too know that their freedom is on edge right now, recently Taliban banned sports for women and stated what is the need of women to play sports. We can see the ideology of the Taliban hasn’t changed and we can sense the future sufferings of Afghan Women in the name of Islamic Law.