By Ebi Kesiena
Since the Taliban took over the Afghan capital Kabul, women have largely stayed indoors and deserted the streets.
Although, the Taliban has repeatedly said that women’s rights will be protected under their rule, but it is clear that many Afghan women are terrified by the prospect of life under the Taliban.
According to reports, fewer women who are brave are venturing out into the streets but tend to be dressed more conservatively than before, their faces often covered with niqabs, or veils.
Many of the educated, fearless women who spent the last decade building their careers are desperately looking for a way out, worried they may be targeted by the Taliban.
Reactions emanating from some women in Kabul shows that women are terrified of what the future holds under the Taliban and would prefer to leave the country.
“I’m thinking about my future, my daughters, what will happened to them if they kill me two daughters without a mother,” a woman said.
The woman, name withheld for security reasons, has worked for a number of international NGOs. She said she has spent days desperately pleading with them for help, but none has responded.
“It is not easy, having more than 10 years’ experience of working with international, organizations and not one of them helped me, the fear is all encompassing ” she said.
For some business owners who spoke to the press, Taliban takeover has meant a boost for business, as they have sold many burqas in recent days.
The burqa garment covers the body from head to toe, with a mesh panel over the eyes. It was mandatory attire for women when the Taliban last ruled in Afghanistan in the 1990s.
Burqas became a far less common sight in Kabul over the past two decades, but the news that the Taliban is once again in charge has sparked an increase in sales.
The shopkeeper said his customers largely men, are frightened and are buying them for their wives, daughters and other women in their lives because they feel that from now on, wearing a burqa may be the only way for them to stay safe on the streets.
However, the Taliban is insisting that life should go on as normal, telling government workers to come back to work.
The group’s leaders insist that there is no danger to the “property, honor and life” of Afghan citizens, and they have told their fighters not to enter people’s homes or confiscate their cars. Promises alone are not enough to assuage people’s concerns.
The heavily-armed Taliban fighters patrolling Kabul city center may not be imposing harsh rules on people’s lives yet, but the fear that this could change at any minute is all encompassing.