The people of Afghanistan have now lived under the gender apartheid of the Taliban for 456 days. In each day that passed, control of women and their bodies have been central to the Taliban’s way of ruling. From the Taliban’s first week in power, in which they ordered working women to stay home, to their first decree on women’s rights that encapsulated their right to marriage – in which they literally stated, “Women are not property” and should not be forced and sold into marriage – a crisis has surged and surged. Nowhere in any of the Taliban’s women-focused decrees is there a mention of the right to education, work, and freedom.
In their first month in power, the Taliban banned teenage girls from school, from the basic human right of education. Just in four months, they managed to systematically deny all of women’s basic human rights, including rights to peaceful assembly, association, and freedom of movement. Under the Taliban, Afghanistan is the biggest prison for women and girls in the world, where the de facto authority’s mandate is to attack women’s presence in society. The Taliban are building a dystopia in which women are invisible in the public sphere and treated as domestic animals in a private sphere, where their reproductive services are needed.
Not surprisingly, the Taliban’s leadership takes pride in their actions. Just in the past week, the Taliban denied women entry to public parks, claiming that women do not observe their prescribed dress code. What we are seeing in Afghanistan is a classic example of patriarchy in which men rule every inch of women’s bodies, controlling their clothes, where they can and can’t go, what they can do and not do. And as we are seeing, the space in which women can function as humans is shrinking as the Taliban commit fully to their war on women.
When the Taliban banned teenage girls from school, they claimed it is a temporary measure until the mullah could decide what girls should wear at school. This is almost the same claim they made when they closed schools for girls in the 1990s, when they first ruled Afghanistan.
In the words of a U.S. comedian, what is more perverted than old mullahs thinking about teenage girls’ clothes for 15 months? All their obsessions with women’s bodies and their clothes show the depraved mental state of old mullahs who are obsessed with women and sex. They are ruling a country where they cannot see half of population outside of sexual obsession. The Taliban are obsessed with women to the point that they have created a ministry that literally controls all parts of women’s lives in Afghanistan.
In madrasas, where Taliban leaders spent years becoming religious scholars, there were no female students. Their lessons revolve around sin and they were constantly indocrated about dangerous charms of women. The level of obsession that the Taliban display toward women seems to show that they can only think of women in sexual ways. That’s why they are trying to cover women head-to-toe; it’s an attempt to keep themselves from sins. Probably, the Taliban are the most pathologically perverted political movements in history.
In each of the 456 days that have passed, the Taliban tortured women and girls of Afghanistan by denying them the right to live as human beings, to contribute to the betterment of their family and society. Of course, the Taliban justify their control as representatives of God. They always claim, “it is not our law, it is sharia, it is what God said.”
It is interesting that the Taliban wants to implement sharia the way it was implemented during the life of the Prophet Muhammad. They want women to live the way women were living 1,400 years ago. Yet, they enjoy the technology and comforts of modern life. They drive modern cars, use modern war technology, have fancy watches, and have the latest model of iPhone, none of which didn’t exist during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad. But they are determined to force the women of Afghanistan to live the way the Taliban think women were living 1,400 years ago!
Ever since the Taliban took over, girls and women of Afghanistan were banned from leaving their houses without male chaperones. They are banned from travelling alone, even to visit a doctor. Women are banned from laughing, talking, and interacting with men outside their family. Women are forced to cover their faces. Under the Taliban, being a woman is criminal by default.
Yet, what the women of Afghanistan have proved during the past 456 days is that they are the only hope for a better future, one with a Taliban-free Afghanistan.