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Anxiety and worry for girls in Taliban stronghold

KANDAHAR: Afghan scholar Fauzia used to make ends meet voicing advertisements on a radio station within the Taliban heartland of Kandahar, however that got here to an abrupt finish when the militants swept to energy in August.

Their order was clear: No feminine voices on the air.

Afghanistan’s new rulers have promised extra average governance than their final stint in energy, when ladies had been all however barred from work and schooling, and prohibited from leaving the home unchaperoned.

But there’s widespread distrust of their ladies’s rights pledge. Most ladies across the nation have been barred from attending secondary faculty, and most ladies have been unable to return to work.

When AFP visited Kandahar final month, just a few ladies had been seen within the dusty purchasing streets of the southern metropolis, rapidly lugging baggage from retailer to retailer whereas sporting the head-to-toe burqa.

The Taliban “posted messages on Facebook saying they didn’t need to hear any extra music or feminine (voices) on air”, mentioned Fauzia, who requested to not use her actual title.

The 20-year-old medical scholar’s state of affairs has change into more and more determined after shedding her earnings from radio advertisements – Fauzia and her 4 youthful siblings are orphans, and she or he is struggling to place meals on the desk.

Despite Taliban guarantees of a softer rule this time round, ladies stay depressed and unclear about their place in society, whereas companies that when employed them are cautious of upsetting the militants.

Fauzia’s former boss mentioned the radio station felt pressured to cease airing advertisements with ladies’s voices.

She has been handing out resumes throughout Kandahar, with none luck.

“I’m instructed to attend,” she mentioned.

“BAD LOOKS FROM THE TALIBAN”

Since taking energy, the Taliban have repeatedly mentioned they may respect ladies’s rights within the confines of Islamic legislation, with out elaborating.

Women, with some exceptions, have been barred from returning to work or schooling, and instructed that they need to maintain off till preparations have been made, together with the segregation of women and men.

So far, “we have not banned something for girls”, Mullah Noor Ahmad Saeed, a Taliban official in Kandahar province, instructed AFP

“If they do not really feel safe or do not return to work, it’s their fault.”

But many are sceptical.

“In the streets, folks do not say something, however we seen dangerous seems to be from the Taliban,” mentioned Fereshteh Nazari, who has been capable of return to work as the top of a girls-only main faculty.

Women academics and ladies, nevertheless, have been excluded from returning to secondary faculty.

“Before we was completely happy to come back to high school. Now we’re below stress,” Nazari instructed AFP on the faculty.

On the day AFP visited, about 700 college students had been current, lower than a 3rd of the two,500 ladies enrolled.

“Most mother and father do not ship their ladies to high school after the age of 10 as a result of they do not really feel safe,” Nazari mentioned.

Zohra, a arithmetic main in her 20s who requested to not use her actual title, is among the many college students staying away, her worry compounded by rumours of a looming violent Taliban crackdown.

“For me, life is extra vital than the rest,” she instructed AFP by telephone.

For many ladies, the power to work is essential now greater than ever as Afghanistan suffers a worsening financial disaster.

It has had a extreme impression even on the few ladies nonetheless allowed to work – Nazari and her instructor colleagues haven’t acquired their salaries for the reason that Western-backed authorities collapsed in August.

“Before, we had a superb life. Now we would need to go and beg on the bazaar,” mentioned the headmistress, who’s in her 20s.

“My husband is jobless, and now we have to feed our two youngsters.”

“WE WANT FREEDOM”

The Taliban have promised all Afghans safety and peace, together with ladies.

But for Fauzia, the mere presence of the militants places social stress on ladies to remain away.

“Except (for) groceries, we do not go anyplace else,” she mentioned, and even then, ladies “come again residence in a short time”.

“Even my little brother tells me to cowl my face, to not see mates anymore, and to not go anyplace besides lessons,” Fauzia mentioned.

It is a jarring change for a lot of younger Afghan ladies, who benefited from the earlier authorities’s push for ladies’ schooling.

“We need freedom,” mentioned a 12-year-old woman within the yard of Nazari’s faculty.

But she added that with the Taliban now in energy, women and girls must do “no matter they are saying”.

“If not, we’ll face issues.”

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