The Taliban knocked on her door 3 times. The fourth time, they killed her

A young woman in Afghanistan was killed by Taliban militants this week, and her family has accused police of failing to protect her. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the killing, saying that the woman was working as an informant for the forces.

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Manizha, Najia’s 25-year-old daughter, was aware that they were on their way because her mother had informed her that they’d done the same thing the previous three days, demanding that she prepare meals for up to 15 fighters.

“My mother replied, ‘I’m poor, how can I cook for you?’” Manizha said. “(The Taliban) began thrashing her. My mother fell, and they fired their AK47s at her.”

Manizha said that she screamed for the combatants to come to a halt. She claimed they hesitated for a second before tossing a grenade into the next room and fled as the flames spread. The mother-of-four died as a result of the assault.

The fatal assault on Najia’s house in Faryab province on July 12 was a frightening foreshadowing of the danger that women now face throughout Afghanistan after the Taliban’s capture of Kabul. Najia and Manizha have been given nicknames by CNN to conceal their identities.

Taliban insurgents took control of dozens of provincial capitals left exposed by the departure of US and partner forces in only ten days.

Locals were taken off surprise by the insurgents’ rapid approach.

Some ladies said they didn’t have time to go out and purchase a burqa to comply with Taliban regulations requiring women to be covered up and escorted by a male relative while leaving the home.

The flowing fabric symbolizes the abrupt and tragic loss of rights acquired over 20 years — the ability to work, learn, travel, and simply live in peace — which Afghan women fear may never be restored.

Deep skepticism

Between 1996 to 2001, the Taliban controlled Afghanistan, closing girls’ schools and prohibiting women from working.

Women’s limitations lessened after the US invasion in 2001, and even while the war raged, a local dedication to improve women’s rights, backed by foreign organizations and funders, resulted in the establishment of new legislative safeguards.

The Elimination of Violence Against Women Act of 2009 made rape, assault, and forced marriage illegal, as well as preventing women and girls from working or studying.

This time, the Taliban has promised to create a “Afghan inclusive Islamic government,” but it’s unclear what that would include or if it will include women in the new administration.

Farzana Kochai, a member of the Afghan parliament, says she has no idea what will happen next. “No clear statement has been made regarding the future structure of government — will there be a parliament in the next government or not?” she asked.

She’s also worried about her rights as a woman in the future. “This is something that I’m more concerned about,” she said. “This is something that every lady is considering. We’re simply trying to get a sense of whether or not women would be permitted to work and have a job.”

Women huddle outside the UN offices in Kabul seeking help in January, 1999.

Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesperson, stated on Monday that females will be permitted to attend school under the Taliban. “Schools will be open, and girls and women will be attending as instructors and pupils,” he said.

Locals on the ground, however, tell a different story, and there is widespread distrust of militants who wreaked havoc under their previous reign.

Women were instructed not to visit health facilities without a male guardian in regions controlled by the Taliban, according to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission in July. Teachers and students were required to wear turbans and grow beards, and television was prohibited.

The panel said that religious academics, political officials, journalists, human rights activists, and women had all been victims of targeted murders. Mina Khairi, a 23-year-old woman murdered in a vehicle bombing in June, was one of them. The young broadcaster had been getting death threats for months, according to her father, Mohammad Harif Khairi, who also lost his wife and another daughter in the explosion.

Women who defied instructions were assaulted by the Taliban while they still ruled Afghanistan.

The Taliban denied murdering Najia, a mother in Faryab region, but witnesses and local authorities disputed their claims, confirming the death of a 45-year-old woman whose house was set on fire.

Many ladies in Najia’s hamlet are widows of Afghan troops, according to a neighbor who screamed at the men to stop. They make a livelihood selling milk, but she claims the Taliban “won’t let it.” “What are we going to do now that we don’t have any males in the house? We want the same access to schools, clinics, and independence as other women, men, and people.”

Najia's daughter said Taliban fighters threw a grenade inside their house.

The cost of a burqa is increasing.

Because the Taliban’s conquest of the nation was so swift, some women were left without the female uniform required for Taliban rule.

For security concerns, one lady, who asked not to be identified, claimed her family only had one or two burqas to divide between her, her sister, and their mother. “If things become worse and we don’t have a burqa, we’ll have to buy a bedsheet or something to make it a larger scarf,” she said.

Burqas hang in a market in Kabul on July 31. The price has surged as women rush to cover themselves to avoid attracting the militants' attention.

According to another lady in Kabul who asked not to be identified for security concerns, burqa prices increased tenfold as ladies rushed to beat the Taliban ahead of their approach. As shop owners hurried to return home, several people didn’t make it to the markets before they closed on Sunday.

She claimed she’d spent hours at a bank on Sunday attempting to get as much money as she could to get the family through the next several days of uncertainty.

“It was very unexpected, and no one anticipated it to happen so quickly. Even if people say things like, ‘Oh, Kabul can defend itself for a year or two,’ morale has plummeted. It’s just been handed over to the Taliban by the army “she said

She is concerned not just for her own safety, but also for the collapse of a government that people have worked so hard to establish, as well as the loss of Afghan women’s rights.

“They simply keep us inside as women. Do we need to fight for the same things again after fighting for years to get out? To obtain permission to travel to the hospital alone, to get permission to work? “she said

Workers at a beauty salon strip large photos of women off the wall in Kabul on August 15, 2021.

‘It’s all for nothing’

A series of Taliban wins over dozens of provincial capitals in the last ten days has brought Afghan women closer to a history they dearly wished to put behind.

Learn, a charity focusing on education and women’s rights, founder and executive director Pashtana Durrani claimed she had run out of tears for her nation.

“I’ve wept so much that I don’t have any more tears in my eyes to grieve. For quite some time, we have been grieving the collapse of Afghanistan. So I’m not in the best of health. On the contrary, I’m completely despondent “she said

Durrani said she’d received text messages from both boys and girls who were disappointed that their years of study had been “for nothing.”

The Taliban, she said, constantly talking about females’ education without defining what that meant. Although Islamic studies are presumed, “What about education for women and men? What about vocational training? “she enquired. “Thinking about it makes you despair since there isn’t a solution.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an end to all abuses in a tweet. “International humanitarian law and human rights, particularly women’s and girls’ hard-won achievements, must be maintained,” he added.

Desperate Afghans climbed an air bridge at Kabul airport Monday in an effort to board flights out of the country. For many millions of individuals, however, there is no way out.

Even if she could get a ticket, the lady in Kabul who waited hours at the bank Sunday said she had nowhere to go without a visa. The only other alternative was to remain inside and hope that no one noticed.

“Going out or doing anything else may put our lives in danger,” she said.

Patricia Grossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch, encouraged foreign donors not to leave Afghanistan as the US and allies withdrew staff employees.

“Many, many people will be unable to leave and will need immediate humanitarian help as well as other vital services like as education,” she added. “Now is not the moment for donors to say, ‘Oh, we’re done with Afghanistan.’”

Women all across the nation are terrified of hearing the same knock at the door as Najia did last month. Manizha, her daughter, claimed she hasn’t been back to the home since her mother died. She doesn’t spend much time outdoors.

“Taliban women are not allowed to leave without a male relative. Only men are permitted to leave. They are free to go to work “she said

“How am I going to obtain anything if I need it? It’s a reprimand. It has nothing to do with Islam. They refer to themselves as Muslims. They have no authority to punish women.”

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