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Stream and mountains

Their Return to Power

By Katrina & Isabelle

The Taliban is an Islamist nationalist movement founded in the early 1990s. The group is widely criticised due to their past actions, ideology, and human rights record and strict rules imposed over women. From 1996 until 2001 they presided over Afghanistan and held responsibility for most of the terrorist attacks, following patterns of low level hit and run attacks coupled with high profile attacks. Over time they have become increasingly aggressive as they gain greater power.

They returned to power in 2021.

However, a major reason they have gained this glorification is when the government struggled to provide basic services and economic opportunities, the Taliban stepped in to fill those gaps. This has helped them gain support from communities that see them as providers of essential services, such as justice systems or infrastructure projects.

The Taliban's ideology is extreme and oppressive to man, however, people do support their fundamentalist interpretation of Islam igniting their rise to power.

Why is it an issue?

The Taliban have imposed a harsh interpretation of Islamic law concerning the rights of women, religious and ethnic minority communities. They have violently cracked down on demonstrations, and protesters and activists have been monitored and forcibly disappeared.

1. Support for terrorism: The Taliban provided sanctuary to various terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda, prior to the September 11 attacks. This support facilitated the planning and execution of international terrorist operations.

2. Oppressive rule: When the Taliban controlled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, they implemented an extreme interpretation of Islamic law. Under their regime, women were severely oppressed, denied education and employment opportunities, and forced to adhere to strict dress codes. Basic human rights, such as freedom of expression and association, were revoked whilst harsh punishments were imposed for perceived violations.

3. Human rights abusers: The Taliban has been associated with numerous human rights abuses, including public executions, amputations, and floggings. They target ethnic and religious minorities, particularly the Hazara community, where mass killings occured. They has also been known to destroy cultural heritage sites, including the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

Restrictions on women

Due to the enforcement of the Taliban in Afghanistan women are experiencing horrific restrictions depriving them of their rights as humans. This includes:

  • Being banned from entering amusement parks, public baths, gyms and sports clubs

  • Teenage girls and women being banned from education, employment, and freedom of movement.

  • Women being banned from government positions resulting in thousands of female government employees to stay at home and not being provided their salary

  • Women only being allowed long road travel with a male relative

  • Restricted to only appear in public wearing a facemask

  • Women also being banned from any tertiary jobs and studies, for example, engineering.

This has resulted in 3.5 million teenage girls to be deprived of an education and has caused millions of women to lose their jobs while taking away their human rights.

How can you help?

  • Be an advocate for refugees in your community

  • Write to your local government representative about your concerns for the rights of Afghan girls and women.

  • Donate to organisations who are supporting girls and women during this crisis.

  • Support Afghan activists who are protecting the rights of women & girls



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