What is Shariah Law, And What Does it Mean for Afghan Women?

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What is Shariah Law, And What Does it Mean for Afghan Women?

Restrictions on behavior, dress and movement were enforced by the morality police officers who drove around in pickup trucks, publicly humiliating and whipping women who did not adhere to their rules. In 1996, a woman in Kabul had the end of her thumb cut off for wearing nail polish, according to Amnesty International.

Women accused of adultery were stoned to death.

Experts have been scanning Taliban leaders’ recent behavior for clues as to whether their treatment of women will change.

When a senior Taliban official gave an interview to a female television journalist in Kabul this week, it was part of a broader campaign by the group to present a more moderate face to the world, and within Afghanistan.

But hours later, a prominent anchorwoman on state television said that the Taliban had suspended her and other women who worked there indefinitely.

A Taliban spokesman said that women would be allowed to work and study, and another official has said that women should participate in government — signaling a possible break with past practices.

But outside Kabul, some women have been told not to leave home without a male relative escorting them and the Taliban have prevented women from entering at least one university. They have also shut down some women’s clinics and schools for girls.

Hosna Jalil, the former deputy minister for women’s affairs in Afghanistan, told Deutsche Welle, a network in Germany, that she had little faith the Taliban would interpret Shariah differently now.

“​​Shariah law for them meant lack of access to education, restricted access to health services, no access to justice, no shelter, no food security, no employment, literally nothing,” she said.

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