Image credit: Deccan Herald

With a whisper, the Taliban may threaten. They used harsh force to take power here after 20 years of deadly struggle and the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians.

Afghan women, on the other hand, refuse to be intimidated. Tamana Zaryabi Paryani is one of those women. Standing up to armed men who want to take away practically everything you’ve worked for in life takes guts.

She marched with dozens of others last weekend to demand the right to work and an education. Taliban fighters pepper-sprayed the demonstrators, and others claimed to have been stunned by electric shocks. They came home after making their voices heard. Some people thought they were being followed.

Women have stated that they are now captives in their own houses since the Taliban took power on August 15.

The Taliban, on the other hand, had no female employees available to question women after dismissing a female police officer.

Inside the house, there was no one. The front door still had a giant muddy bootprint on it. According to neighbours, Ms Paryani and two of her sisters were hauled away, and no one has returned to the apartment since. They would only state that the sisters were abducted by an armed group.

That night, several female demonstrators were targeted. Another, Parawana Ibrahimkhel, is also missing. Despite this, the Taliban denied kidnapping them.

The Taliban are not recognised as the rightful authorities of Afghanistan by the majority of the world. 

Under Taliban rule, Afghanistan has become the only country in the world to officially prohibit education based on gender, a key stumbling block in the Taliban’s desire for legitimacy and the easing of sanctions. The group is embarrassed by the regular protests by women raising awareness of the issue.

Over the last two decades, women in this country have overcome cultural and familial prejudices to live more freely. It is decades of progress that the Taliban look hell-bent on undoing.


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