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Afghan Women ‘Feel Like Prisoners’ Under Taliban Rule

‘We don’t have basic human rights. This is terrifying for all women in Afghanistan’.
An Afghan woman wearing a burqa in the old city of Kabul, Afghanistan, on April 11, 2013. AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus
An Afghan woman wearing a burqa in the old city of Kabul, Afghanistan, on April 11, 2013. AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus

Women in Afghanistan are expressing defiance against the country’s hardline Islamist authority after the Taliban ruled that Afghan women must be fully covered in public, or stay indoors.

“You feel like a prisoner. You can only eat, sleep, and live according to the Taliban’s will,” said Narges Nesar, an Afghan women’s rights activist.

The measure was the latest escalation of growing restrictions on women under the Taliban regime – many girls and women are barred from going to secondary school, they can’t travel far distances without a male relative, and activists are threatened by a crackdown on dissent.

“We have continuously been losing our hope for life since the Taliban’s return,” Nesar added.

A young woman from Kabul spoke with i24NEWS, on the condition of anonymity, about life in her city after the “burqa law” was issued.

“It didn’t surprise me. We don’t have basic human rights,” she said.

Most women in Afghanistan wear a headscarf for religious reasons, but many in urban areas, like Kabul, do not cover their faces.

The activist told i24NEWS that wearing a burqa or hijab wasn’t a part of her family’s culture or tradition, so along with needing a male relative to leave the house, going into public is a daunting task.

“My friends are really scared… many of them stay at home but want to get out of this country. They are stuck at home, without education. This is terrifying for all women in Afghanistan.”

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