Brave Afghan women protest for their rights on Kabul streets while surrounded by Taliban fighters
Even as thousands of Afghans flee the country to evade possible persecution by the Taliban, the militant group has been busy pushing a publicity blitz campaign aimed at reassuring world powers and the nation's terrified population. Seeking to portray themselves as more moderate than when they last ruled Afghanistanâ€”between 1996 and 2001â€”and imposed a strict form of Islamic rule, the Taliban vowed Tuesday to respect women's rights and forgive those who fought them. However, despite these vague assurances, many Afghans remain skeptical.
Older generations still have traumatizing memories of the Taliban's previous rule, when they closed girls' schools, banned women from working, and largely confined them to their homes. Television and music were banned across the regions controlled by the group at the time and those caught violating these extremist rules were publicly executed.