After the August 15 capture of Kabul, several groups of urban women in major towns came out of their homes demanding their right to work, freedom of movement and protesting against the Taliban.
In the initial weeks, the protests were allowed. But foreign policy expert Fabien Baussart believes that women protestors must have tested the Taliban's patience because gun-toting fighters soon began to disperse protestors at gun-point.
"By September 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Taliban made it a point to send a message that the women better obey them as quickly as possible," Baussart wrote in an opinion piece for The Times of Israel (TOI). "It is as if the Taliban never really left them alone in the last 20 years."
Baussart, who is the President of CPFA (Center of Political and Foreign Affairs), said the situation of the women in the urban areas is grim, as they are having to forget the freedom they began to enjoy for the twenty years. "However, global attention is needed more in rural Afghanistan where the plight of women is worse than before."
Baussart has argued that the Taliban's brutalities are slowly coming to light. According to The East Asia Forum report, "The domestic situation in Afghanistan for women is as grim as it was in the 1990s."
"Women experience various forms of violence -- honour killings, rape, beatings, lashings, imposed prostitution, acid attacks, forced marriage and marriage to resolve tribal and land-related animosity. Violence against women during militant attacks has also become an accepted way of life in the war-ravaged country," the report said.
Another report by the American research group Brookings has highlighted the fate of rural Afghan women.
"These women have never been seen in public since the 1990s. The girls do not go to school and the women do not work. Their lot did not improve even when the Americans were there. The women's presence was tolerated by the Taliban only for poppy cultivation and opium harvesting," according to a report titled, "The fate of women's rights in Afghanistan", authored by its president John R. Allen and Senior Fellow Vanda Felbab-Brown.
"Afghan women in rural areas--where an estimated 76 per cent of the country's women live--experience the devastation of bloody and intensifying fighting between the Taliban and government forces and local militias," the Brookings report said.
Adding to this, a study conducted by the United Nations revealed that even without the Taliban around, conservatism in the rural areas is extremely high. "Only 15 per cent of Afghan men think women should be allowed to work outside of their home after marriage, and two-thirds of men complain Afghan women now have too many rights."
"80 per cent of Afghan women experience domestic violence...Some 50 per cent of women in Afghan prisons and 95 per cent of such girls have been jailed for 'moral crimes' such as having sex outside of marriage...prosecuted for killing their brutally abusive husbands, including in self-defence," the study reported.
The study further stated that many conservative men share the Taliban view that the Afghan society should embrace the most regressive version of the Islamist laws that "call for reducing women's rights and freedoms". (ANI)