How will the lives of millions of Afghan women change now that the Taliban has taken control of their country? What will happen to their freedom?
As the Taliban goes onto establishing their rule in Afghanistan, the futures of Afghan women and young girls stand at a very precarious position. They are petrified that those dark ages from the older Taliban regime might return once again. They're worried that school, college, jobs, the freedom to be as they will — all of that may soon be snatched away from them.
Even though in their first press conference since the capture of Kabul, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said they would honour women's rights going forward, there's an ambiguous caveat there that evokes distrust. The Taliban have made it clear that women can exercise their right within the framework of the Islamic code.
The deep skepticism around their promises isn't unfounded given their tainted past, when they had banned education for women and girls, forbidden them to step outside without a male escort, cut off their access to employment, forced them to wear full body coverings – failing to do which extreme punishments awaited women such as lashings and even being stoned to death in some instances.
So, can the Taliban really be trusted?
With reports coming up of Afghan women being let off their banking jobs, women journalists being taken off air, is it likely that the Taliban will gradually go back to their old ways?
In our previous episodes of The Big Story on the Afghanistan crisis, we tried to breakdown how the Taliban outlasted 20 years of a US-led military offensive and came back to power so swiftly and what the unfolding humanitarian disaster would spell for US President Joe Biden's legacy.
In today's episode we will bring you accounts of women from Afghanistan as they talk about how their lives have changed over the past few weeks and what they have to say about the Taliban's promises.
We also spoke to Kriti Shah, Associate Fellow in the Department of Strategic Studies at the Observer Research Foundation, to understand what the responses from international governments, NATO allies towards this situation really mean? As Afghan women turn to the international community, how will the stakeholders address that their hard-won rights aren't lost? Tune in!