A report on women’s situation in an area controlled by the Taliban
“I think the history will be repeated by the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan… the dark regime of the Taliban where women were just restricted to their homes and deprived of their fundamental rights!” a female doctor in a recently seized area by Taliban says.
These are words of a female doctor from a district in a northern province that fell under the Taliban a few days ago. Taliban terror is once again inevitable among the people, especially women, more than ever. Names are not mentioned for security issues.
Today, the Taliban captured the district centre and controlled all over the city.
Many Afghan soldiers have been assassinated and captive by the Taliban. Residents are concerned in the district because of Taliban terror as now there is no hope because the heroes/soldiers have been killed collectively in front of the people brutally.
The lady doctor says that all the staff are ordered to come to work in the hospital in the first day of the Taliban presence.
The female and male staff are sitting on the chairs, women on one side and men on the other side in the hospital yard. She compares the situation to stoning someone. With a broken heart and fear, everyone is listening to the warning words of a Talib commander. He is speaking about new rules and regulations for employees that everyone must obey; otherwise will be punished. The limitations mainly refer to women like having mahram (a male relative accompany the women), covering fully by the Burqa, having separate working sections for women and men, and preventing the use of smartphones and internet by the healthcare staff in the workplace.
The new rules and regulations of the Taliban are not much harder for the lady doctor than the situation in front of her. More than twenty dead bodies of brave soldiers lie on the ground burned and assassinated by the Taliban. The hospital yard is full of blood, and the bodies are rancid, upsetting everyone except the Taliban. The gunmen move around the dead bodies and mock the dead bodies. It shows no munificence to their bodies.
The lady doctor is observing the situation and weeping under her Burqa because she perceives no hope for tomorrow and remembers the moments of yesterday where things were different.
Late in the evening, by the mediation of some elders, the dead bodies of Afghan soldiers were taken away to be buried in a joint grave.
The next day, it seems a bit different as there are no more dead bodies inside the hospital, just everywhere surrounded by the gunmen. The doctor arrives at the hospital gate from home with her little five years son as a mahram based on the new rules. She is scared that someone may stop her from bringing a child as a mahram, but she is lucky that the small man is accepted as a mahram.
Moreover, the irresponsible gunmen can visit anywhere without informing their local commanders and here, the lady doctor shares again the situation where she witnessed a gunman visited the female doctors’ wards to harass them.
She sees that a gunman enters the restroom of doctors and asks the lady doctor where my patient is. She responds that this is not the patients’ ward, but it is the doctors’ restroom. It seems the gunman is lying to her because then he asks for the phone number to contact her from time to time, but the doctor rejects. Then he says, ‘there is no need to be afraid of me as I know you fear because we are governing now, but I will not harm you.’
The doctor responds, ‘I am not afraid of you because I also believe in God, so please leave me alone.’ But again, the gunman asks her to check his blood pressure, and the doctor says, ‘See, brother, we have the male doctors downstairs, so you can go and do your check-up right there.’ However, she feels that man has no health issues and has the intention to harass her. Afterwards, he offers her to shake hands for starting a sisterhood relationship with him which immensely irritates the doctor. She screams and calls the cleaning lady that someone is here, so he runs away from the room.
Together with her female colleagues, the young and strong female doctor raised a voice and complaint to the head of the health sector, the Talib commander, that a gunman bothered the female doctors. Still, there is not much to follow up on because, according to the Taliban, there are many local commanders who have gunmen. Therefore, it is difficult for them to control their entry into the hospital. However, women must take care of their wearing and their appearance that no one bothers them. All these actions indicate and demonstrate that how is the situation for women under the Taliban’s rule.
The sad part is that the gunman has also visited the obstetric ward where the pregnant women are in beds. But this is just a tiny part of the situation about women from the start of the Taliban ruling, and there are many sad/terrible stories that people cannot speak to survive.
For the time being, the lady doctor is still working in the hospital of the district center by bringing some changes in her clothing/appearance. Her two female colleagues already received warnings for wearing modern clothing styles and watching television inside their duty rooms.These restrictions just not end in the workplace but also includes in the private lives of people as recently Taliban has ordered the local community to stop watching TV inside their homes as Taliban believe watching TV creates the opportunity for immorality and depravity among the society. therefore, if they find someone punishment will be applied.
Currently, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the schools and educational institutions are closed in areas controlled by the Taliban. Therefore, there is no news yet on how they may deal with the education system.
However, there are cases in the districts where the Taliban has attacked some families and forced them to marry the young girls and daughters of the local communities these
are real cases from the families that the media don’t want to talk about as the Taliban has imposed restrictions on media as well.
The ongoing situation is similar to 1990 where women were deprived of all their rights and was restricted to homes.
Also, men are asked to keep and grow beard and to be present in the mosques for five times prayers otherwise they will be punished by lashing in the cold water in the areas controlled by Taliban.
But coming to the Doctor she only hopes and prays that the Taliban may not use force, violence on afghan women and do not deprive her and her teammates of basic rights such as education and work OR the government may retake the district that the conditions get change and better for everyone.