The Taliban regime reopens the public university to provide “segregated” teaching and in Kabul the use of the burka is beginning to be called
“If you organize a protest it will be very dangerous because a suicide bomber may blow himself up in the middle of the group and kill you.” So read the threatening message received on her phone by one of the organizers of the protest that toured the streets of Kabul on December 28. Shouting “Justice, justice!”, a group of thirty activists toured the center of the capital under the watchful eye of security forces. The rights and freedoms that Afghan women have won over the past two decades are slipping away with each passing day under the Emirate re-established by Islamists five months ago.
Yesterday the regime announced the forthcoming opening of the public university, closed since the invasion, which will provide education segregated by sex. “The Islamic Emirate is trying to put in place a mechanism that is in line with Islamic principles and national interests,” Higher Education Minister Abdulbaqi Haqqani explained. Despite the economic and humanitarian crisis, women are the obsession for the new leaders.
The organizer of the march, who prefers to remain anonymous, shared the message with Matiullah Shirzad, director of the Afghan agency Ammaj News, to whom she told that “if something happens to us, this is the person responsible for our death.” A team from the agency went to cover the protest aware of the danger since they are considered “illegal” mobilizations and “it is very dangerous because they can arrest or kill you,” says Shirzad.
“It is a miracle that they continue to take to the streets, a show of courage, but here nothing happens by chance and these mobilizations are also used by the Taliban themselves to try to show the world that they are not like in the 1990s and that is why they allow them. But as soon as we stop looking there, they will surely lock them up, ”says Ana Ballesteros, senior researcher associated with Cidob (Barcelona Center for International Affairs) with extensive experience in the region.
Since they took control of Kabul, the followers of Amir Hibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban’s top leader, have insisted that the movement is not the same one that held power in Afghanistan until 2001, “but don’t be fooled. They are the same, ideologically there are no changes and we go straight to the model of the Emirate of the nineties. It must also be understood that this Afghanistan is not the same as it was back then and it will be more difficult for them to impose their ideology,” says Ballesteros.
Neither sports nor studies
First came the ban on playing sports, a warning in the midst of the political and social earthquake that caused the chaotic withdrawal of US forces. In his new interim government they did not include women either. The Taliban later recaptured the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. After the summer, the girls saw how the doors of the secondary education centers were closed.
The doors of ministries and public offices have also been closed to the vast majority of female officials because it is not considered decent for a man and a woman to work under the same roof. And since November the appearance of women in movies and series has been prohibited and their voice has been silenced on the airwaves.
Frozan Azizi played for the national under-19 soccer team and in September had an interview with this outlet in Kabul. It was a secret meeting on an indoor track where he went to train on his own to circumvent the ban on playing sports. Now she has found temporary refuge in Albania from where she sadly answers the phone and assures that “it is terrible to live in a country where dreams and plans crush you because you are a woman. You can only aspire to be at home, cook, clean and have children. Frozan was born and raised in the fictional Afghanistan implanted by the US and the rest of the NATO countries, a nation in which millions of dollars were invested in gender and equality programs and in which today women feel abandoned.
Although all the first decisions on gender were addressed to women living in urban areas, later they have reached rural areas. Since December 26, women cannot go more than 72 kilometers from their homes without the company of a male member of the family. The absurd has also come to cut off the heads of female mannequins in stores.
What will be next? Ana Ballesteros points to a tightening of the dress code, the imposition “of the mandatory use of the burqa and it is no longer authorized to go out in the street with a hijab, as until now.” In the last 24 hours, the center of Kabul has been filled with pamphlets reminding women of the importance of covering up in public. The image is a burqa. A notice that will soon be order.
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