Despite the Taliban’s history of oppressing women under its strict interpretation of Sharia (Islamic law), a Taliban spokesman pledged that the terrorist group would protect the rights of women… “within the limits of Islam.”
“Women will be afforded all their rights, whether it is in work or other activities, because women are a key part of society,” a Taliban spokesman said at a news conference Tuesday, ABC News reported. The Taliban took control of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, on Sunday. “We are guaranteeing all their rights within the limits of Islam.”
A journalist had pressed the spokesman on “whether women will be allowed to work, whether girls can still go to school.”
Another Taliban spokesman addressed the same issue, BBC News reported.
“The issue of women is a very important issue. The Islamic Emirate [of Afghanistan] believes that we have rights for women in Islam,” the spokesman declared.
He promised that women will be able to work and get educated in a Taliban-run Afghanistan.
“All our sisters, all our women are secure. Our God, our Quran, says that women are a very important part of our society. They can work. They can get education. They are needed in our society, and they will be actively involved,” he promised. “If the international community is worried about these issues, we will tell them there will be nothing against women in our ruling.”
“Our women are Muslims, they accept Islamic rules. If they continue to live according to Sharia, we will be happy, they will be happy,” the spokesman added.
A United Nations declaration called for “a new government that is united, inclusive and representative – including with the full, equal and meaningful participation of women,” in Afghanistan.
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said that the U.S. government would recognize a potential new government of the country if that government “upholds rights, doesn’t harbor terrorists, and protects the rights of women and girls.”
Journalist Frud Bezhan noted that while the Taliban are “saying all the right things” on “amnesty, women’s freedoms, free media,” they are merely “telling the world what it wants to hear.”
“Outside Kabul, the situation is starkly different. Taliban have reimposed its repressive laws, oppressing women and banning independent media,” Bezhan noted.
He went on to explain that U.S. troops are still on the ground in Kabul, as are foreign journalists. “When world’s focus shifts, that’s when Afghans will see the real Taliban — the one committing rights abuses and rolling back freedoms in cities/provinces outside Kabul,” he predicted.
Malala Yousafzai, an advocate for women’s education and a Nobel Prize laureate, took to The New York Times to repeat her story and warn that the Taliban would deprive women of their rights.
“I cannot help but think of my own childhood. When the Taliban took over my hometown in Pakistan’s Swat Valley in 2007 and shortly thereafter banned girls from getting an education, I hid my books under my long, hefty shawl and walked to school in fear. Five years later, when I was 15, the Taliban tried to kill me for speaking out about my right to go to school,” Yousafzai recalled.
“Afghan girls and young women are once again where I have been — in despair over the thought that they might never be allowed to see a classroom or hold a book again. Some members of the Taliban say they will not deny women and girls education or the right to work. But given the Taliban’s history of violently suppressing women’s rights, Afghan women’s fears are real. Already, we are hearing reports of female students being turned away from their universities, female workers from their offices,” she added.