A group of Afghan women too young to remember the government Taliban between 1996 and 2001 it is going through the same trauma recounted by relatives after the Islamic group regained control of Afghanistan, causing thousands of people to flee the country.
“We are going back to darkness,” said one of the university students taken to Qatar, who described feelings of anxiety and fear and, like others, refused to provide details that could identify them or their families at home for security reasons.
“These are all stories we heard from our parents and grandparents. And back then it was just a story, but now it’s like the nightmare has come true,” said a second woman.
The four who spoke to Reuters are among hundreds of Afghan students, mostly women, brought to the Arab Gulf state.
When it last came to power, the Taliban strictly enforced its ultra-conservative interpretation of Sunni Islam, which included banning women from going to school or working.
Many doubt the militant group’s promises that this time women’s rights will be protected under the framework of Islam.
“Everyone knows how harsh and brutal that time was,” a second woman told Reuters at a residential complex in the capital Doha, where refugees, including of other nationalities, are sheltered.
Taliban on the road in Kabul, 18 August 2021 — Photo: Wakil Kohsar / AFP
She said she doesn’t believe there are enough female teachers in Afghanistan for the gender-segregated classes that the Taliban insists on implementing.
The women’s group said that Taliban values were alien to them and that they will not return to Afghanistan as long as the group exercises control of the country, even under a power-sharing government.
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