Experts remain sceptical as Taliban promise to 'protect' women, children rights
Afghanistan was thrown into disarray this week as the Taliban seized control of power in aftermath of the troops' pullout by the United States and NATO. The group declared victory over the government as the group entered the already abandoned presidential palace on Sunday after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country with his key staff.
The military takeover has triggered a massive panic across Afghans leading to a mass exodus from the country. Residents fear that the insurgents will reimpose their radical and brutal policies that prevailed from 1996 to 2001.
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During their rule, imposed Sharia Islamic law under which the group executed people publicly for crimes as small as theft. The women were required to be covered all the time in the traditional burqa. The group also restricted women to study. While men were forced to grow beards. The group was eventually thrown out of power after US forces entered the country for anti-terrorist operations following the 9/11 attack.
However, the Taliban this time have promised to rule differently and more moderately. On Tuesday, in a first press conference since the military takeover of the capital, the group pledged to protect the rights of women and minorities. Responding to a question by a journalist on what will be different this time that their previous rule, the Taliban spokesperson said the group has a different perspective now. "The ideology and beliefs are the same because they're Muslims, but there is a change in terms of experience--they're more experienced and have a different perspective," the spokesperson said at the media interactions.
Experts are still sceptical of the situation that will follow after the group reaches a settlement through which the group plans to establish an Islamic government in the country
"The Taliban has never renounced violence, it has not moderated its draconian views on justice and women, and it is allied with international terrorists," news agency ANI quoted US scholar Michael Kugelman as saying. Mohammed Soliman, Scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, also believes that the social and civil rights "arena is foggier".
There are also signs from the ground that paints a different picture than what the Taliban promises. Multiple reports have emerged since the Taliban offensive claiming that the group killed women for not covering their heads. On August 1, a 21-year-old woman was reportedly shot dead by the Taliban for not wearing a veil. Reports suggested that the woman was on her way to Balkh district centre when she was dragged out of a car and killed by the Taliban.
According to a report by Al-Jazeera, the group also sent several women working banks home and told them that their male relatives can takeover their work.
On Monday, United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres expressed concerns regarding the human rights violations and said he has been "receiving chilling reports of severe restrictions on human rights" throughout the country. "I am particularly concerned by accounts of mounting human rights violations against the women and girls of Afghanistan," he said at an emergency meeting of the Security Council.
(With agency inputs)
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