It’s wishful thinking to believe in a more moderate Taliban – its renewed crackdown on women proves it

There is a danger that the Taliban’s vague promises on women’s rights were little more than a public relations strategy designed to woo the west, says Borzou Daragahi

Sunday 19 September 2021 14:30
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<p>Women march to demand their rights under Taliban rule during a demonstration near the former Ministry of Women’s Affairs in Kabul </p>

Women march to demand their rights under Taliban rule during a demonstration near the former Ministry of Women’s Affairs in Kabul

In the space of a couple of days last week, the Taliban movement that has taken control of Afghanistan showed its true colours. With little by way of a formal announcement or transparent due process, the group’s enforcers all but abolished the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and handed its Kabul premises to the dreaded enforcers of virtue, the thuggish morality police who chastise, detain or beat women for wearing clothes deemed improper.

Then, Afghan boys were summoned back to secondary school while girls were not, in yet another ominous act that has dashed hopes for a Taliban that is more moderate than its incarnation in the late 1990s, when it previously ruled Afghanistan.

There is now a grave danger that the vague promises on women’s rights dangled by the Taliban in recent months were little more than a public relations strategy meant to lull world opinion and the United States government into acquiescing to its consolidation of power and coughing up aid money.

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