by Dalia Ziada
Sooner or later, the new Taliban will follow the steps of their ancestors by threatening the security of other countries in the east and the west
It did not take long for Taliban to show their ugly face, proving wrong those who were optimistic about their rule wrong.
On Wednesday, Taliban leaders gathered directors of schools and local community leaders to inform them that women are no longer allowed to attend or work at schools and universities. The decision of the extremist group is the last item on a long list of similar decisions targeting to bury women and girls alive under the claim of preventing “the female vice from corrupting the society”. Banning women from participating in public life is at the core of the extremist ideology adopted by Islamist extremist organizations, including Taliban.
In response to this appalling move, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayib, issued a statement harshly condemning the discrimination against women by Taliban. “Preventing the Afghan girls from university-level education is a shocking procedure that contradicts Islamic Shariah”, El-Tayib stated. “Shariah explicitly urges men and women to continue to seek education from cradle to grave. Several women have proven their scientific and political genius over the long history of Islam. Women’s education should be a source of pride and admiration for every Muslim devoted to Allah, His Messenger, and His Shariah”.
Taliban took power in August 2021, following a hasty and chaotic withdrawal of the United States and allied forces from Afghanistan, followed by an inevitable surrender of the army and the government to Taliban. At the beginning of their shockingly effortless ascendence to power, the extremist group’s spokesperson told the media that they would not practice discrimination against women like their founding fathers did in the 1990s and 2000s. They even claimed that the new Taliban is more “open-minded” and urged the world to wait and see.
Some western politicians and observers echoed Taliban’s false claims, perhaps out of ignorance. Even the U.S. Administration of President Biden urged the international community to give Taliban a chance, under the claim that “the new Taliban is different from the old Taliban” and that Taliban rule is what the Afghan people want. The hundreds of thousands of Afghanis who fled the country since Taliban took power a year ago are proof of the falseness of these relaxed claims.
Among all the shocking statements made by world leaders, such as the European Union and UNICEF, about their optimism toward Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan, one particular statement stood out. In an interview with Sky News TV, a few days following the U.S. and allied forces’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Chief of Staff of the British Army, Nick Carter, described Taliban fighters as “country boys” that the world needs to be patient on and give them a chance to prove that they are “more reasonable” than the old Taliban.
Forcing women to cover from head to toe, stoning women in public, and preventing women from participating in public life through work or education were daily practices under the rule of the former Taliban. Sadly, the current Taliban is gradually heading in that direction by first banning women from working at certain occupations, now preventing women from education, and very soon preventing women from going to markets or appearing in public.
Taliban’s unapologetic discrimination against women is proving wrong the claims of officials and media personnel who were so optimistic that the existing Taliban is different from the former Taliban, which appeared in the 1990s and turned Afghanistan into a haven for Al-Qaeda, one of the most dangerous Islamist terrorist organizations knows in history. Sooner or later, the new Taliban will follow the steps of their ancestors by threatening the security of other countries in the east and the west. It all starts by suppressing women under the silent and passive watch of the free world.
Article first published on Sada ElBalad.
Dalia Ziada is Director of Liberal Democracy Institute. She writes on Militancy and Islamism, and about MENA affairs. She tweets under @DaliaZiada.
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Milli Chronicle’s point-of-view.