What you need to know about the Taliban and Islamic law

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In the aftermath of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, there were growing fears that Afghan women would endure the kind of harsh treatment they suffered in the 1990s, when the Taliban forced their way on them. A harsh interpretation of Sunni Islam, a form of oppression that helped turn Afghanistan into a pariah state at the time.

What is the official position of the Taliban towards women?

Since taking control of Afghanistan, the Taliban have tried to project a more moderate image than when they were in power in the 1990s. At their first press conference, Zabiullah Mujahid, spokesperson Taliban, pledged to respect women’s rights within the boundaries of Islam, but did not specify what those boundaries are.

“We would like to assure the international community that there will be no discrimination against women,” he said. “But of course within the framework that we have. Our women are Muslims.”

He said women would be allowed to work and receive education, but made no specific promises.

The possible range of restrictions – on women’s dress, on the range of jobs that will be open to women, and on the extent to which gender segregation will be enforced – raises concerns for many inside and out. outside of Afghanistan the worst for women’s freedoms.

How does the Taliban behave towards women?

In parts of Afghanistan that have come under Taliban control in recent weeks, the group has imposed restrictions on women. Women were not allowed to leave the house without a male relative and were required to wear burqas, which covered a woman from head to toe. Some commanders have asked families to hand over single women to marry their fighters. In Kabul, images of women outside beauty salons have been repainted or torn off. Female teachers were not allowed to teach boys. Women journalists employed by state television, now under Taliban control, have been prevented from going to work.

What was Afghanistan like for women when the Taliban was in power in the 1990s?

The oppression of women by the Taliban government was one of the main reasons Afghanistan was a pariah state in the 1990s. Girls’ schools were closed, women were banned from most professions and the Most of the time confined to their homes. Outside, they were forced to wear the burqa.

What is Sharia law?

Sharia is the legal system which is derived from the Quran as well as other Islamic sacred texts. It sets out the rules of Muslim life, ranging from how to pray to acts of charity and fasting. Religious scholars use the texts to get answers to specific questions that are not clearly addressed in the sacred texts. But interpretations of Islamic law vary widely.

Saudi Arabia and Iran impose their own versions of Islamic law, including dress codes for women and gender segregation in some public places.

The Taliban follow a particularly strict interpretation of Sunni Islam. But they did not elaborate on their current interpretation of Islamic law applied to women.

What are the United States and its allies doing to support Afghan women?

Promoting greater gender equality was a key goal of the US-led military intervention. While Afghanistan remains deeply conservative, especially in rural areas, tremendous progress has been made over the past two decades. Girls’ schools have opened, women enrolled in universities and pursued careers in fields such as politics, journalism and even the military.

Women who came of age in big cities like Kabul during the American occupation have benefited the most from these advances and have the most to lose under the new Taliban regime.

Now the United States and its allies have called on the Taliban to secure the rights of Afghan women and girls, but have limited capacity to make sure that happens. In a joint statement, they said they were ready to support Afghan women with humanitarian aid.

The Taliban want legitimacy and money. The international community could use this as leverage to secure promises from the Taliban on women’s rights.

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