Nadia Nadim on women’s football in Afghanistan one year on from Taliban takeover
The Taliban have brought an end to more than two decades of women’s rights under the country’s Islamic regime. They have also set the stage for what could become a violent return to civil war that would last for decades.
In July, the fundamentalist Taliban – who have run Afghanistan since 1992 and declared a caliphate in 1996 – removed the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, who had ruled since September 11. They also killed the country’s chief prosecutor, Faryadi Rabbani.
Karzai has not yet returned from exile in Pakistan – where the Taliban have a safe-house – and the threat of Taliban attack on his government and life are far from over.
A month later, Mullah Muhammad Omar – one of the most powerful men in the Taliban hierarchy – was also murdered by Taliban fighters. Omar was one of the most revered clerics in the Islamic world. He was also an advisor to the Taliban’s founder, Mullah Mohammed Omar.
In what might be one of the most significant defeats for women in modern history, the Taliban’s victory over civil society was followed two months later by the Taliban’s triumph in what was once Afghanistan’s greatest city, Kabul.
The Taliban have been in power in Afghanistan for 17 years. They gained power in their own fundamentalist Islamic interpretation of Islam, and imposed strict Islamic laws on Afghanistan.
This has meant that women have had limited space to practise their religion and participate in public life. More importantly, it has meant that women have had to flee from their country to seek protection.
But, with the Taliban and the Karzai government struggling internally and with extremists on the move, Afghanistan could find itself trapped in a dangerous cycle of civil conflict.
The Taliban’s defeat in Afghanistan is the latest victory for women in a global movement that