‘Misogynist and brutal’: The extreme rules being imposed by the Taliban

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In just over a week the Taliban have seized control of Afghanistan in a lightning-fast takeover that has stunned the world.

The insurgents stormed across the country, capturing all major cities in a matter of days, the Afghanistan government that has run the country for 20 years collapsed and President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed.

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, enforcing a strict Islamic Law called Sharia, which is based off their interpretation of the Quran, or the Islamic Holy Book.

Displaced Afghan women and children from Kunduz are seen at a mosque that is sheltering them on August 13, 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan.  Tensions are high as the Taliban advance on the capital city after taking Herat and the country's second-largest city Kandahar. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)
There is growing concern for Afghan women. Source: Getty Images

During these five years, the rights of women and girls were stripped with cruel corporal punishments enforced, including executions; and the extreme suppression of freedom of religion, expression, and education.

Now, after two decades of being run by a Western-backed government, Afghanistan is back under Taliban rule. But what will that look like?

Working women are 'deserving of death'

Although claiming for "freedom of our country and the independence of our people"; many Afghans fear the Taliban will reimpose the harsh interpretation of Islamic law that they relied on when they last overtook the nation.

Women will be impacted the most, with freedoms restricted and rights taken away.

"It's very misogynist. It's very brutal. It's very crude. It's very closed-minded, it's very anti-intellectual. It's a dark, oppressive reality," Greg Barton, a professor of Global Islamic Politics at the Alfred Deakin Institute, told Yahoo News Australia.

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"So the immediate transformation is largely the erasure of women from the public space, and a sense of fear over what might happen to them," he said.

Mr Barton said as the Taliban has been taking over districts, the laws imposed have been similar. 

"They're saying to women, get [in] the house, cover up under a burqa if you're outdoors, but you have to be with a male guardian," he said.

"[Women are not] going back to the office, you're not working in the bank, you're most certainly not working as a journalist, because they see that as being scandalous and deserving of death.

"You not going to be having music in public places, you're not going to have any of those things associated with the arts."

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'Transformed' Afghanistan forced back into repression 

Afghanistan has a population of about 38 million people, most of them under the age of 25. 

With a median age of just 18 years old, most people have lived in Afghanistan post the removal of the previous Taliban regime, enjoying freedoms and liberties that they couldn't decades before.

"Now, almost 50 per cent of students in schools and universities are women," Professor Barton said. 

"In the education spaces, exposure is expanded dramatically. And we see of course, women in professions and taking part in modern life. 

"Until the Taliban were overthrown in October 2001, it was a very repressive society. So it's been transformed over the last 20 years post-Taliban.

"That's why you hear young women particularly saying, 'all our hopes and dreams have been smashed'. And that's the immediate thing you see, is this heavy sense of misogynistic, patriarchal oppression, that it's very violent."

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The Taliban spokesperson called for "peaceful" international relations

Mohammad Naeem, the spokesman for the Taliban's political office, told Al Jazeera TV on Monday the form of the new regime in Afghanistan would be made clear soon, adding the Taliban did not want to live in isolation and calling for peaceful international relations.

Professor Barton said although it's hard to predict what extreme new laws could be brought in by the fundamentalist group, it could look similar to pre-US forces occupying the country.

"Earlier this year the Taliban said they wanted a "genuine Islamic system" for Afghanistan that would make provisions for women's and minority rights, however it's hard to know what that would look like. 

"The Taliban, in many respects, is not at all different today than what they were in the 1990s, 25 years ago," Mr Barton said, adding the period was notorious for the barbaric conditions of its people.

"But of course, world change. The world is connected now with instantaneous, broadbands of communication. 

"People carry smartphones, even the Taliban... And there's a sense of, you know, social media permeates everyone's life. 

"So there's a sense of being on display, and wanting to make an impression, even for the Taliban, which wasn't there 25 years ago."

Hundred of people flee the capital

Hundreds of desperate Afghans tried to flee Kabul on Sunday after the Taliban took control of the presidential palace and declared the war was over. President Ashraf Ghani fled the country. 

On videos shared to social media, thousands of Afghans rushed the airport, forcing their way onto planes and in some cases, clinging to the outside as the aircraft took off.

with AAP

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