Pain of Women under Taliban

They made me invisible, shrouded and non-being

A shadow, no existence, made silent and unseeing

Denied of freedom, confined to my cage

Tell me how to handle my anger and my rage

Zieba Shorish-Shamley

Women in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001

When the Taliban came to power in 1996-97, they shuttered all women’s educational institutions, such as the University of Women. When the Taliban controlled Afghanistan from 1997-2001, there were tight regulations in place for women, rules that were particular to the female gender and that the Taliban asserted were based on Sharia Muslim law.

Women who broke the rules were subjected to whippings and death on the spot. Almost everything was prohibited for women and girls in Afghanistan under the Taliban at the time, including schooling, earning through decent work, and going out in public without a male guardian. Women were regarded as cattle and lacked access to basic health facilities, not to mention the ability to participate in judgment calls in any manner.

During the Taliban’s previous regime, a finger of a young girl was cut because she wore nail polish paint.

The Taliban commanded that all ground-floor and first-floor openings be kept locked so that ladies in the house couldn’t be visible from the out in the larger towns. There were some women-only buses in Kabul that ladies could utilize. These buses had all of their windows hidden so that the women inside could not be seen.

Women are suffering the most under the Taliban during their earlier reign of terror, but that has all transformed in the last twenty years.[[1]]

The Current Plight of Afghanistan women

As Taliban forces have triumphed across the country in recent times, it has appeared as if the pretense of reasonableness has been abandoned, with disturbing tales of school closures, mobility restrictions, and women being made to evacuate their jobs.

Another issue is the lack of political will, particularly when it comes to women’s rights. A few nations, like Sweden and Canada, who have both played key roles in Afghanistan, have claimed to have a feminist foreign policy, but even they have remained deafeningly silent as terrified Afghan women saw the Taliban prevail.

Sharia Law

Under the Taliban’s newly formed government, women in Afghanistan will enjoy rights “within the confines of Islamic law,” or Shariah. However, it is unclear what this will imply.

Women will be treated with dignity, according to Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid. However, there was a catch. In his own words, “God willing in accordance with Sharia law, we will allow women to work, women are an important element of the society, and we respect them. In all walks of life, where the society needs them, they will have an active presence.”


Outside of Kabul, however, some women have been warned not to leave the house without a male relative, and the Taliban have barred women from attending a minimum of 1 university. They’ve also closed down certain women’s clinics and girls’ schools.[2]

For present courses with girls under the age of 15, a “Sharia divider” must be created to keep female and male students apart, according to the edict. According to the new laws, same-gender teachers will be permitted to educate students.

Protest by Women against Taliban’s oppression

The Taliban pledged to construct a forgiving form of government in Afghanistan after a rapid military campaign won the country’s majority that includes women’s rights, which were lacking from their previous reign.

Women conducted 2 protests in Herat and Kabul, concerned that the Taliban were infringing on their rights. Afghan women marched with placards and chanted slogans demanding that they be allowed to continue their education and work.[3]

The Plight of Women Journalists

As per the Committee to Protect Journalists, Taliban members have prohibited women journalists Khadija Amin and Shabnam Dawran from working at the state broadcaster Radio Television Afghanistan. As per the report, RTA employed 140 female journalists till mid-August, but no one has returned to work for the state television networks.[4]

As per the article, the Taliban advised a female journalist serving in the southeastern province of Ghazni that her radio station could remain to broadcast, but without music or women’s voices.


Therefore, it can be concluded that the condition of women in Afghanistan under the rule of Taliban is indigent. Not only the working women but also ordinary women are treated disgustingly. Also, women had to suffer beatings and vulgar words from Taliban people. Protests by Afghanistan women against Taliban rule have slightly raised the conditions, but not fully. Though the Taliban rulers promised for ensuring women’s rights, not following them after assigning power created furiousness. The plight of women might be improved by the aid of few countries and especially by the United Nations.


[1] Bipasha Mukherjea, ‘Shame on you, world’: Women in Afghanistan feel abandoned under Taliban rule, INDIA TODAY (Aug.19,2021),

[2] The Indian Express, Explained: Shariah Law, and what it means for Afghan women, THE INDIAN EXPRESS(Aug.27,2021),

[3] Afghan Women skeptical over Taliban’s promise on education after new decree to Universities, INDIA TODAY (Sept.4,2021),

[4] Amy Gunia, Just 39 Female Journalists are still working in Kabul after the Taliban’s takeover, TIME (Sept.2, 2021),

Chidige Sai Varshitha is pursuing Law from Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University and is currently in the fifth semester. She is interested in doing research work and preparing articles on various legal matters, primarily, focusing on Constitutional law and IPR. As a member of the Centre for child and law, and a few NGOs, she always balanced her work in helping the people and acquiring knowledge in the field of law.

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