Bamiyan Panorama

Bamiyan Panorama

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Widows in Afghanistan during the Taliban

The first major war was in 1979 when Afghanistan was invaded by the Soviets. 

'The 10-year Soviet occupation resulted in the killings of between 600,000 and two million Afghans, mostly civilians.'  (wikipedia article about Afghanistan)

Then there was the civil war from 1989-1996.  Believe it or not I could not find a number of deaths during the civil war, but it has got to be in the hundreds of thousands, if a few million people.  

This created how many widows... 100,000?  500,000? 

Then the Taliban invaded and took control.  Here are some of the rules they implimented for all women:

Taliban restrictions and mistreatment of women include the:
1- Complete ban on women's work outside the home, which also applies to female teachers, engineers and most professionals. Only a few female doctors and nurses are allowed to work in some hospitals in Kabul.
2- Complete ban on women's activity outside the home unless accompanied by a mahram (close male relative such as a father, brother or husband).
3- Ban on women dealing with male shopkeepers.
4- Ban on women being treated by male doctors.
5- Ban on women studying at schools, universities or any other educational institution. (Taliban have converted girls' schools into religious seminaries.)
6- Requirement that women wear a long veil (Burqa), which covers them from head to toe.
7- Whipping, beating and verbal abuse of women not clothed in accordance with Taliban rules, or of women unaccompanied by a mahram.
8- Whipping of women in public for having non-covered ankles.
9- Public stoning of women accused of having sex outside marriage.
10- Ban on the use of cosmetics. (Many women with painted nails have had fingers cut off).
11- Ban on women talking or shaking hands with non-mahram males.
12- Ban on women laughing loudly. (No stranger should hear a woman's voice).
13- Ban on women wearing high heel shoes, which would produce sound while walking. (A man must not hear a woman's footsteps.)
14- Ban on women riding in a taxi without a mahram.
15- Ban on women's presence in radio, television or public gatherings of any kind.
16- Ban on women playing sports or entering a sport center or club.
17- Ban on women riding bicycles or motorcycles, even with their mahrams.
18- Ban on women's wearing brightly colored clothes. In Taliban terms, these are "sexually attracting colors."
19- Ban on women gathering for festive occasions such as the Eids, or for any recreational purpose.
20- Ban on women washing clothes next to rivers or in a public place.
21- Modification of all place names including the word "women." For example, "women's garden" has been renamed "spring garden".
22- Ban on women appearing on the balconies of their apartments or houses.
23- Compulsory painting of all windows, so women can not be seen from outside their homes. 24- Ban on male tailors taking women's measurements or sewing women's clothes.
25- Ban on female public baths.
26- Ban on males and females traveling on the same bus.

27- Ban on flared (wide) pant-legs, even under a burqa.
28- Ban on the photographing or filming of women.
29- Ban on women's pictures printed in newspapers and books, or hung on the walls of houses and shops.                    (from

Imagine a widow:  She most likely has no 'male guardian' so she can not leave her house.  Literally.  How does she survive?  How does she shop for food?  How does she earn money for food? 

After the Taliban fell from power things changed, but we'll talk about that another time. 


Whatjazz said...

The taliban are horrible but many afghans nowadays wish the taliban would take over from the western troops. Because it's now much unsafer to live in f.ex kabul with all the suicide bombings.

It;s choosing between two evils, taliban or the western troops staying (with many civil casualties)

I read this in a book by the dutch journalist Natalie Righton.

Whatjazz said...

I know the Taliban rules are horrible, but under the rule of taliban it was much safer for civilians than now under the rule of western troops.

Nowadays there are many suicide bombings in f.ex. Kabul, and killings of civilians by western soldiers. The afghanis hate the western troops and wish for the taliban to return.

I'm certainly not a fan of the taliban, actually i'm atheist.
I read about the life in afghanistan in a book by a dutch journalist called Natalie righton. Really worth reading if you're interested in afghanistan life between 2010-2012.