Presentation on theme: " Once installed in power the Taliban instituted the modern world’s most extreme interpretation of sharia law. Men were ordered to grow long beards."— Presentation transcript:
Once installed in power the Taliban instituted the modern world’s most extreme interpretation of sharia law. Men were ordered to grow long beards Television sets and VCR’s were broken. Cassette tapes were strung up from street lights Wide range of sporting and leisure activities, such as kite flying, chess and football (soccer) were banned. Worship at the mosque was strictly monitored. Dancing, music, videos and film were forbidden. Any images such as pictures or photographs were to be destroyed.
Women and girls aged above twelve were required to wear the burqa. A Burqa is a head to feet covering which had only a small panel of lacework for the women to see through. This was the traditional dress worn in Pashtun villages but rarely in a multi-ethnic urban centre like Kabul, where working educated women usually work western dress.
Men, were also subject to a strict dress code. They were required to wear the traditional shalwars or loose pants to above the ankle and a long cotton shirt with a striped waistcoat. Turbans and the long blanket wrapped around the body were also compulsory in winter. Beards had to be long enough to be held in clenched fists and pointed. Long hair on men was forbidden, police would stand on street corners with scissors cutting hair.
Men were expected to pray five times a day when the Taliban demanded it. There were reports of doctors being forced to abandon patients mid operation in order to pray. Thousands of men disappeared under the Taliban regime, arbitrarily arrested on the streets and help in jails. They were arrested because of their suspected political views or non-Pashtun background. In jail men were subject to mass rape, beatings, torture and amputations.
The Taliban edicts were essentially designed to separate men from women. Females were made to disappear from public life Girls’ schools were closed. Women were forbidden from working outside of the home and could not leave their homes without a male relative. This was a big change for Afghan society because previously women had played an active role in society, with women making up: 40% of doctors 70% of teachers 50% of public service 40% of women in Kabul worked prior to the Taliban takeover.
There were also other rules to make women disappear: Not allowed to wear makeup under their burqa Beauty salons and bathhouses (the only place you could get hot water) were closed to women. White shoes, socks or stockings were forbidden as white was the colour of the Taliban No high heels as walking was meant to be silent. Houses where women lived had to have their street windows painted black so people could not look it. Men and women were not allowed to laugh in the street.
Women’s depression and mental health suffered under these rules It was describe by many as being ‘buried alive’ ‘Latifa’ the pseudonym of a middle class Afghani girl who recounted her story of life under the Taliban in the memoir My Forbidden Face describes finding herself drifting into depression after being confined to her home, too scared to walk the streets. From her window she witnessed men and women being beaten and a neighbour’s son being killed. The rate of suicide grew under the Taliban. Journalist Jan Goodman interviewed a European doctor in Kabul who told her that, “doctors are seeing a lot of oesophageal burns. Women are swallowing battery acid, or poisonous household cleansers, because they are easy to find. But it’s a vary painful way to die.
Life for the women and girls, especially working class women and those from the poorer sectors had already suffered from the years of civil war. Many women were widowed or had lost family members on whose wages they depended to survive. In Kabul 25 000 families were headed by war widows and 7000 disabled men. At this time many families were reliant on aid organisations such as the UN funded bread kitchens for their survival.
The rules preventing women from leaving their homes without being accompanied by a male relative and wearing a burqa proved quite a burden for many women. Burqas Burqas were expensive (they cost three months wages). Without one women couldn’t go into the street to beg They were requested from western aid workers and neighbours would borrow each other’s in turn. A 1996 report found that 6% of women surveyed didn’t seek medical attention because they didn’t own a burqa. Travelling alone Women travelling alone were subject to beatings. Radio Sharia reported on the rounding up of 225 women off the streets in one raid, with one having her finger cut off for wearing nail polish.
Some women were forced to disobey the rules and leave without the correct dress to work illegally, beg, shop, or seek medical attention. Amnesty international reported that in 1996 that a woman called Turpekah in the city of Farah was machine gunned by the Taliban trying to get to her child, sick with acute diarrhoea, to a hospital Her crime? Being out of her home without a male relative. For widows without a son or brother, life on the streets was dangerous and desperate.
Access to healthcare was cut to a bare minimum by the Taliban. Male doctors were not allowed to examine female patients and female staff were banned from working in hospitals in 1996. Only 25% of beds were reserved for women. If a doctor was caught examining a patient uncovered both the doctor or patient were punished.
PHR’s researcher when visiting Kabul in 1998, saw a city of beggars – women who had once been teachers and nurses now moving in the streets like ghosts in the enveloping burqa’s, selling every possession and begging to feed their children. It is difficult to find another or would be government in the world that has deliberately created poverty by arbitrarily depriving their population under its control of jobs, schooling, mobility, and health care. Such restrictions are life threatening to women and children. Physicians for Human Rights 1999 Report: The Taliban’s War on Women – A Health and Human Rights Crisis in Afghanistan
Under Sharia laws the punishments were quite extreme and physically violent. Punishments included: Thieves – hands amputated Unrelated men and women accused of having a relationship – flogged Women trying to escape the country with men they were not married to – stoned to death Homosexuals - crushed by collapsing walls driven into by trucks There was no rule of law, court system or right of appeal under the Taliban. Confessions were often extracted under extreme torture. In 1997, the United Nations refurbished the football stadium in Kabul after the Taliban said they would lift the restrictions on playing sport. The only ‘entertainment’ the stadium saw was: Friday public executions Amputations Beatings Under the stadiums were the rooms for extracting ‘confessions’ via torture. Audiences were forced to watch these ‘spectacles’ under the gaze of the Taliban.
An example of one such event is a woman named Zameena who was accused of murdering her husband. She was shot dead in front of her seven children despite the fact that her husband’s family had tried to stop the execution. The secret recording of the execution revealed the ‘audience’ wailing and crying.