On August 31st, 2021, more than 5,500 Americans were taken out of Afghanistan. Tensions between the United States and Afghanistan have been rising since 2001, when the countries began their war over the events of 9/11 due to the terrorist organization Al Qaeda which was from Afghanistan. However, with the extraction of American troops, the Taliban, an Islamic fundamentalist political and militant organization, gained full control of major cities such as Kabul and Herat. This change in rule has had a massive negative impact on the lives of Afghans.
The Taliban originated in Afghanistan in the 1990s and their values have consistently been extremely conservative and religion-based. The Taliban’s enforcement of Islam is not only spiritual, but is also predominant in other aspects of Afghani life. In Bamiyan, they destroyed all relics which were not made by an Islamic artist or related to Islam. Their religious fanaticism has led to violence and instilled fear in all the people under their control.
Restricting aspects of life for women is not a foreign concept to the Taliban, however since their takeover, they have claimed to put an end to the cycle. When asked about what will happen to women with the change in rule: “[We will] honor women’s rights, but within the norms of Islamic law,” a Taliban spokesman stated. Unsurprisingly, the majority of Afghans do not believe the Taliban and their promises about being more civilized. This has led to numerous citizens fleeing from their cities to refugee sites. Women have resorted to seeking shelter, as they will do anything to not come in contact with their new government. With newer and stricter dress codes, women in Herat are constantly in fear and are forced to accept the fact that any advancements in terms of equality or freedom they have gained will immediately be taken away with the presence of the Taliban.
On the other hand, some women have refused to adhere to the rules of the Taliban and instead chose to organize a protest. The protest, hosted in Herat on September 2nd, contained about 60-80 women with no interference from the Taliban. However, during another protest on September 7th, shortly after the first, the Taliban arbitrarily fired in an attempt to disperse the crowd. Taliban fighters attacked protesters, and two men died along with ten others severely injured. After these protests, the Taliban announced that any protests that have not been previously approved by them cannot take place. The unfortunate reality is that because of this new oppressive government, both physical rights and the freedom of speech/expression are being controlled.