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Afghan women's experiences during the Taliban regime Jaghori, Beheshta

Abstract

A plethora of research has depicted Afghan women during the Taliban reign in a variety of ways, ranging from oppressed “victims of the burqa” to heroic “social actors.” In this study, I examined the lived experiences of women in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime, as articulated by ordinary women themselves. Data from 11 women were gathered through the use of individual interviews, and analyzed using Miles and Hubermans’ (1994) analytic framework. Themes emerged that described the Taliban regime’s policies regarding Afghan women, the overall responses of women to the policies, including the impact of those policies at the time (1996-2001), the ongoing impact, and the situation of women in the post-Taliban era. The Taliban regime’s anti-women policies denied women education, employment, and freedom of movement. Those who committed any infractions were met with severe punishment. The impact of these policies led to various psychological effects, including: anxiety, fear, and symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress. Despite the condemnable restrictions, Afghan women’s agency, no matter how limited, was present and continuously exercised on different occasions. Despite the gains for some women, eight years after the removal of the Taliban regime, Afghan women still do not appear to have made substantive progress with regard to oppressive customs, violence, and their position in Afghan society. The study results and their analysis is especially timely, given the increasing Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, and the looming possibility of a resurrected Taliban rule in the country.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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