Go Home, You Can’t Work-Talibans to Afghan Women

*As Systemic Women Rights Abuse Tees Off.

Ernest Omoarelojie with Agency Reports

There are strong indications already that what millions of liberal Afghans fear the most are about to manifest in earnest as the Talibans take the rein of government in Kabul. The Talibans are reported to have ordered working women in some provinces to go home, leave their jobs for male relatives to take over. According to reports, all women bank workers in two provinces have already been sacked following the new order.
Specifically, reports have it that Taliban insurgents that took over Kandahar walked into Azizi Bank and ordered its nine women staff to go home, escorted by the gunmen who insisted that their male relatives could take over their places. Three of the women are said to be holding managerial positions.
“It’s really strange to not be allowed to get to work. But now this is what it is,” said 43-year-old Noor Khatera, who had worked in the accounts department of the bank.
“I taught myself English and even learnt how to operate a computer. But now I will have to look for a place where I can just work with more women around,” she added.
The reports also said that two days after the Azizi bank episode, gun wielding Taliban militants enacted a similar scene at a branch of Bank Melli, in Herat. While there, they admonished female employees for showing their faces in public. Following the incident, women there quit, their places taken over by male relatives.
In yet another instance, advertisement boards featuring women wearing wedding dresses are being painted over even in Kabul immediately the Taliban fighters entered Afghanistan’s capital on Sunday. On Sunday for instance, one of the fighters is seen using a roller and white paint to cover up the large women images outside a building outside Taj Beauty Salon, described as the “best bridal beauty salon in Afghanistan”.
Women have also been reported being sent home from their jobs in several other provinces with some being ordered to leave the universities.
The development is coming even after assurances by Taliban spokesperson that the group “will respect rights of women upon taking over the reins of power. If nothing else, the incidents appear to be early proves that some of the rights won by Afghan women over the 20 years the hardline Islamist fundamentalist group was ousted will be reversed.
In their last outing two decades ago, Talibans barred women from working just as they forbade girls from attending schools. Generally, women were compelled to cover their faces and be accompanied by a male relative if they wanted to venture out of their homes. Those who broke the rules were often humiliated with public beatings supervised by the Taliban’s religious police under the group’s strict interpretation of Islamic law.
Over the now fruitless talks for a political solution, the Talibans assured that women would enjoy equal rights in accordance with what was granted by Islam, including the ability to work and be educated. Whether or not the group intends to keep the promise remains to be seen.

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