Taliban women are anxious and fearful

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Afghanistan’s new authorities have pledged a more moderate government than their predecessors, who prevented women from working and attending school, and forbade them from leaving the house without a chaperone. However, there is considerable scepticism about their commitment to women’s rights. The majority of girls in the country have been denied access to secondary education, and most women have been unable to return to work.
Fauzia, an Afghan student, used to make ends meet by speaking commercials on a radio station in Kandahar, the Taliban’s heartland, but that came to a stop in August when the Islamist militants surged to power. There would be no female voices on the broadcast, they said. Only a few women were visible in the dusty shopping lanes of Kandahar when AFP visited last month, hurriedly carrying bags from store to store while wearing the head-to-toe burqa.
The Taliban “sent posts on Facebook stating they didn’t want to hear any more music or female (voices) on the radio,” according to Ms Fauzia, who requested not to be identified by her true name.
After losing her money from radio advertisements, the 20-year-old medical student’s situation has become increasingly dire – Ms Fauzia and her four younger siblings are orphans, and she is trying to put food on the table. Despite Taliban assurances of a gentler rule this time, women are discouraged and unsure about their role in society, and companies that formerly hired them are fearful of offending the Islamists.

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