Some Afghan women defiant as Taliban return

A group of Afghan women, holding signs and protesting for their rights on the streets of Kabul.

Women and girls in Afghanistan are desperate not to lose their freedoms now that the Taliban are back in power.

Afghan activist Pashtana Durrani runs an organization that provides access to learning materials for 7,000 girls, mostly in rural areas across Afghanistan.

"As an Afghan woman I wouldn't trust them (Taliban) because they don't have a very clear track record of keeping their promises, or something like that."


"The Taliban should give a statement out that all these girls should be going to all these public schools and no foot soldiers are allowed to harass them or target them or stop them and then they should continue with the way they're studying. If they're okay with all of that, we're good to go, then I'm optimistic, but they have to walk the talk. Right now they're not doing that."

In their first press conference in Kabul, the Taliban pledged to respect women's right to work and education - but only within the framework of Islamic law.

The U.N. children's agency UNICEF expressed cautious optimism about working with Taliban officials, citing their early expressions of support for girls' education.

But many others remain skeptical.

Several women were ordered to leave their jobs during the Taliban's rapid advance across the country, and activists say they want to see the Taliban held to account for any commitment.

During their rule from 1996 to 2001, guided by Sharia religious law, girls were not allowed to go to school, women could not work and had to wear all-enveloping burqas to go outside.

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