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The Facts

In September 1996, life for women living in Afghanistan came to a virtual halt when the Taliban militia took over the Afghan capital of Kabul. Under Taliban rule, women were stripped of their basic human rights, such as, the right to their own bodies, the right to speak, to give and receive health care, education, the right to work and walk down the street.

take action Who are the Taliban?

The Taliban are a group of soldiers trained in Pakistani Islamic Schools who profess to be soldiers of pure, fundamentalist Islam and the saviors of all Muslims. The Taliban's brand of Islam has been termed un-Islamic and condemned by most Muslim scholars and countires. Though most countries do not recognize the Taliban because of their human rights abuses, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia support the Taliban with money and supplies.

What is life like for women under the gender-apartheid law of the Taliban militia?

  • Women are not allowed to work outside of the home.

  • Girls and women are prohibited from attending schools and universities.

  • Women are forced to wear the burqa-a voluminous garment, which completely shrouds the body under layers of fabric, leaving only a small mesh opening through which to breathe and see.

  • Women can not leave the confines of their homes unless accompanied by a close male relative.

  • Women must paint their windows to hide themselves from view.

  • Male doctors are not allowed to examine women.

  • Women are forbidden to wear white socks, and their shoes can not make noise when they walk.

  • Women and men are stoned to death on the suspicion that they may have committed adultery and persons accused of homosexuality are also punished by death.

What is the punishment for breaking Taliban rules?

  • Women have been stoned to death for traveling with a man who was not her relative.

  • Women have been beaten by the hundreds for not being "properly "dressed.

  • The ban on women working has thrown tens of thousands of families into destitution, because many women in Afghanistan are war widows and the sole source of support for their families.

  • A small number of female medical staff is allowed to work, but are continually harassed. Because male doctors cannot treat women, they are severely limited in their access to medical care.

  • Women have been shot at for leaving their homes without a male escort to receive medical care.

Is the Taliban really operating under the code of Islam?
  • According to Islam, women are allowed to work, to earn and control their own money, and to participate in public life. Obviously, the Taliban gender apartheid has no basis in Islam.

  • Women's Spiritual Status in Islam Not only in the idea of creation Islam has granted equality to men and women, but also women are given the same spiritual status as men.

  • In the Islamic world, at the beginning of Islam, there were no restrictions or prohibitions toward women to seek knowledge and education. There were many women scholars in the fields of religion, literature, music, education, and medicine.

  • Read more about Women and Islam

What was life like for Afghan women before the Taliban occupation?

  • Women in Afghanistan were educated and employed: 50% of the students and 60% of the teachers at Kabul University were women, and 70% of school teachers, 50% of civilian government workers, and 40% of doctors in Kabul were women.

Other Taliban Offenses

  • Those convicted by the Taliban of stealing have their hands amputated, and all punishments in the capital region, are carried out at an outdoor soccer stadium in Kabul.

  • Convicted killers are executed by relatives of their victims, who also have the authority under Islam to forgive the criminal and accept blood money instead.

  • Those convicted of homosexuality are placed in front of a brick wall and and it is sent crashing down using a tank. After 30 minutes, the rubble is removed and anyone who survives is exonerated.

  • Those convicted of having relations with someone they are not married to have been sentenced to 100 lashings in the public eye.

What can YOU do to help?