Protesting women in Kabul were bombarded by Taliban fighters not far from the presidential palace on Saturday. According to eyewitnesses, they used tear gas and beat women who demonstrated for equal rights and democracy. They had banners that included: “We are not the women of the nineties.”
The Taliban exercised a reign of terror in the years 1996-2001, and in their version of Islamic law, women were virtually disenfranchised and had no access to training or work.
Today‘s Taliban are still Sunni extremists, but after the sudden fall of the capital Kabul, they have attempted to appear reconciling. They have argued “to respect women’s rights in accordance with their interpretation of Islamic writings.”
Most Islamic scholars agree that, in his time, the founder of the religion, Muhammad (570-632), revolutionized women‘s rights. But Islamic law has been interpreted very differently since, usually at the expense of women’s legal position. The Taliban version of twenty years ago made women second-class citizens who could no longer be part of public life. A Taliban leader, Shir Mohammad Abbas Stanek, who is expected to join the new government, just said recently that the woman will play a role in society.