By A. Froogh
Since August 15, with the Taliban’s return to power, women’s social and political rights have been under attack. The Taliban has deprived millions of women and girls of the right to work and education. The Taliban is systematically purging all women from state institutions, media, economy, and civil society.
In an attempt to establish gender apartheid, the Taliban are attempting to imprison women behind walls, force hijab on them, and deprive them of the right to work and education. That is why women are fiercely resisting and constantly organizing protests to challenge the Taliban’s attempt at establishing gender apartheid.
In the Taliban’s worldview, women’s share of the social labor is to give birth, do housework, and serve their men. According to this worldview, women have no socio-political status. At best, their societal role is defined as someone’s mother, sister, wife, and daughter. The Taliban’s claims of protecting “women’s dignity and honor” are a euphemism for dehumanizing and purging women’s social roles.
However, whenever talking and devising policy about women, the Taliban view them as sex objects and nothing else. The Taliban wants to force “hijab” on women and deprive them of free access to society so that men do not get turned on.
In November 2021, Mawlawi Mohammad Khalid, Taliban’s acting minister of Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice said, “Islamic Emirate is not against women’s education, but men and women sitting beside each other is against the principles of Sharia and our people’s beliefs.”
All of the Taliban’s statements and policies towards women are mired in misogyny. Now from the Taliban’s obsessive phobia towards women, it appears that the most important item on the Taliban’s agenda of governance and Talibanization of society is waging war on women.
At a time when the country is facing the worst humanitarian crisis on earth, famine and universal poverty are grinding the people, the Taliban has made the length of women’s chadur their main preoccupation.
The Taliban’s worldview on women is shaped by a lethal cocktail of traditional patriarchy and misogynistic interpretation of Islamic teachings. The first decree of Mullah Haibatullah, the Taliban leader, about women, in which the Mullah emphasized that the “women are not property,” but they are “human,” also further exposed their misogyny. Mullah’s six-point decree only dealt with marriage, polygamy, and inheritance, and no mention of right to education and work; the Taliban even cannot imagine that women can have social, political, economic demands that go beyond issues of polygamy.
The question of women is forming a major weakness of the Taliban regime. It is their very essence to continue their perverted animosity towards women, which puts them at odds with half of the country’s population. This is a major social and political area that is undermining the Taliban’s effort to earn legitimacy. Taliban’s misogyny and hostility with women are insoluble. The women of Afghanistan have not left the Taliban’s misogyny to go unanswered, women across the country have bravely challenged their regime. Taliban’s misogyny is going to contribute to weakening their grip on power and hastening their demise.