Women In Afghanistan Disappear

Afghan Woman

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Women in Afghanistan disappear suddenly. It’s a year since the Taliban retook control and imposed a rigorous version of Islamic Sharia Law. More and more women go missing without a trace, particularly women who had senior positions before the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. Women are forced to accept the new surreal norm, having gained a large measure of freedom under American occupation.

Female Senior Prison Warder Suddenly Disappeared

A senior female prison warder left her job when the new Taliban regime took over. She was called back to work the next day. For a month she kept up her regular work routine, then suddenly she was gone without a trace.

No amount of questioning of the Taliban authorities has resulted in the discovery of the whereabouts of this woman.

By replacing the Women’s Affairs Ministry with the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, the Taliban has dismantled the system that was designed to respond to gender-based violence. Afghan women have no one they can turn to. Women in Afghanistan disappear.

Women In Afghanistan Disappear Under Severe Limitations

The Taliban rules have significantly limited Afghan women’s ability to earn a living, access healthcare and education, and escape situations of violence. Women have become virtual prisoners in their homes.

Women in Afghanistan suddenly disappear but are also deprived of education, forced to wear the full veil, banned from politics and the media. They are not allowed to leave home without a male escort.  Driving instructors can no longer issue driving licenses to women.

Afghanistan is the only country in the world where girls are banned from going to high school. Afghan’s missing women are from every segment of society.

Dysfunctional Economy

Afghan woman say the absence of women in the workplace not only affects their households, but makes an entire economy dysfunctional.

One male supervisor said, “I have never had any complaints about the women who provided technical services to our women clients. They provided crucial services which we are not able to compensate for, in their absence.”

Prior to the Taliban takeover a year ago, women made up 22% of the Afghan workforce. It had taken years to reach that number. Now, all that painful progress is blown away as women in Afghanistan disappear.

Neither the increasing international isolation and worsening economic crisis, nor the growing desperation of ordinary Afghans, have deterred the Taliban from reinstating its repressive policies. A humanitarian crisis is rapidly escalating, amid a collapsing economy, with half the population going hungry. There are severe restrictions on humanitarian aid, cash shortages, and spiking prices. The concern is that any aid which reaches into Afghanistan ends up in the hands of the Talibon.

A civil servant says she has become little more than a shadow. Her husband is seriously ill, and she was the sole breadwinner. “I liked my work. I could offer a good education to my children. But when the Taliban arrived, I was forced to stay at home. And they cut my salary. I believe the Taliban are the same as they were before. It is a dark regime.”

The Old Taliban

After the Taliban took over Afghanistan in 1995, women were denied formal education and were forced to stay at home. During the Taliban’s five-year rule, women were essentially put under house arrest, and often forced to paint their windows over so that no one could see in or out. The new Taliban regime says they are not like that anymore.

While the new regime has not directly fired female government employees, it has restricted women from entering the workplace. Some women are being paid a significantly reduced salary to stay at home. Others are asked to let a male family member take her place. The women who trained for years to gain their position, are being asked to hand their job over to unqualified and inexperienced male relatives. One woman said, “I feel we have been buried in a dark hole. I am breathing but I am not alive.”

Afghanistan is a ‘man’s world‘. Women everywhere have a voice, even if it is one that is hard to hear.

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    Wendy is an Inspirational Freelance Writer specializing in offering encouragement to women in all walks of life.

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