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Gender Apartheid

On September 27, 1996, the Taliban, a fundamentalist Islamic militia, seized control of the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul, and violently plunged the occupied territories of Afghanistan into a brutal state of gender apartheid in which women and girls have been stripped of their basic human rights.

Gender Apartheid - A Reality Codified under Taliban Law

  • Upon seizing power, the Taliban instituted a system of gender apartheid, effectively thrusting the women and men of Afghanistan into a modern-day purdah. Both are suffering from the imposition of barbaric edicts, although women are the main targets of the horrific regime.
  • Under Taliban rule women have been stripped of their visibility, voice, and mobility.
  • Girls and women are prohibited from attending schools and universities.
  • Women are forced to wear the burqa-a voluminous garment which completely shrouds the body under thick layers of fabric, leaving only a small mesh opening through which to breathe and see.
  • Women can not leave the confines of their homes unless accompanied by a close male relative.
  • Homes with women must have their windows painted opaque to hide the women from view.1

Gender Apartheid - The Consequences

  • A woman was stoned to death for traveling with a man who was not her relative.2
  • Women have been beaten by the hundreds for not being "properly " dressed.
  • The ban on women working has thrown tens of thousands of families into destitution, because many women (app 40,000 widows in Kabul only) in Afghanistan are war widows and the sole source of support for their families.
  • A small number of female medical staff is allowed to work, but are continually harassed. Because women cannot be treated by male doctors, they are severely limited in their access to medical care. Women have been shot at for leaving their homes without a male escort to receive medical care.
  • At the state orphanage in Kabul, the girls have not been allowed outside since September of 1996.4

Taliban Law in Opposition to Afghan Tradition

  • Prior to the Taliban's arrival, women in Afghanistan were educated and employed: 50% of the students  and 60% of the teachers at Kabul University were women, and 70% of school teachers, 50% of civilian government workers, and 40% of doctors in Kabul were women.5

Taliban Law in Opposition to Islam

  • Under Islam, women are allowed to work, to earn and control their own money, and to participate in public life.
  • The Taliban claim to be following a pure, fundamentalist Islamic ideology, yet the oppression they are perpetrating against women has no basis in Islam.

What You Can Do

  • Share this information with your family and friends
  • Send an instant email to U.S. governmental officials and the U.N. from the Feminist Majority website or
  • Call 703-522-2214 for a copy of a petition you can sign, circulate and send to U.S. government officials and the U.N.

Sources: [1]



Note: All the external images will invoke a new browser window

  • life under the rule of brutal Taliban in Kabul [ Multiple images ]
  • Afghan Refugee women and children in Pakistan [ Multiple Images ]
  • Life under Taliban - Woman begging in Mazar-e Sharif   [ woman begging ]
  • Life under Taliban in Kabul city [ part 1 ] [ part 2 ]
  • a women being publicly executed in a soccer stadium [ woman executed ]
  • Other images - amputations, women stoned to death, man slaughtered with knife etc.




1 The Washington Post, March 19, 1997
2 Associated Press, March 29, 19973 Reuters, December 6, 1996; Reuters, January 16, 1997
4 Oral communication from Jan Goodwin, journalist, who visited Afghanistan in September 1997
5 "Kabul Women Under Virtual House Arrest," Kenneth J. Cooper, The Washington Post, October 7, 1996: CNN, March 9, 1997
6 "Women's Fury Toward Taliban Stalls Pipeline," The Washington Post, January 11, 1998; Reuters, January 26 and 27, 1998
Ibid., The Washington Post, January 11, 1998
8 "The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan Pipeline Company-Government Relations and Regional POlitics," The Petroleum Finance  Company, A Petro Finance Focus on Current Issues, October 1997

Other Sources:
- "A Flower For the Women of Kabul,"
- Reuters, July 21, 1997
- Reuters, October 25, 1997; Associated Press, October 25, 1997
- "Who Are the Taliban of Afghanistan?" Anita Pratap, CNN World News, October 5, 1996
- The Chicago Tribune, February 24, 1997; Associated Press, September 19, 1997



Taliban on Women Rights

" We do not need women to work. What 
   positive roles can they play in the
   What is the impact of their roles? We do
   not need women. They should stay in
   their houses"

   Mullah Manon Niazi.
   Taliban leader and appointed
   Governor of Mazar-e Sharif



Taliban's War Against Women

The Hazara Women




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