Afghans in Korea discuss Taliban and women's rights

Taliban's return casts shadow over afghan women's fate

By Hyunbin Park Photo, video By An Jeong-yeon, Lee Eun-soo

This is footage of a recent protest in Kabul, Afghanistan, where the Taliban fighters opened fire on protestors.

First-half casualties from 2009 - 2021

Since the Taliban returned to power, fears of violent oppression against the Afghan public, especially women, have dramatically increased.

Total civilian casualties from Jan. 1 - June. 30 (Source: UN)

The Korea Herald interviewed two Afghans who are currently living in South Korea -- Najeeb Begi and an anonymous interviewee -- to learn about what their families, relatives and friends are going through under the Taliban.

Taliban's Islamic beliefs are very radical and extreme, says Najeeb. The Taliban shut down businesses owned by women, eliminating Afghan women's socioeconomic potential.

"Music and women are banned from the media. They are not allowed to have jobs and walk on the streets." "There were a lot of terrorist attacks even in a hospital, in which even pregnant women, newborn babies were killed." -Najeeb Begi


On Aug. 17, Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s longtime spokesman, promised the Taliban would honor women’s rights within the norms of Islamic law. The Taliban have encouraged women to return to work and have allowed girls to return to school, handing out headscarves at the door.


However, the reality seems different, according to an Afghan who talked to The Korea Herald recently. He wished to remain anonymous out of concern for the safety of his family, relatives and friends in Afghanistan. He said the Taliban were misinterpreting Shariah, the Islamic law, to justify terrorism and inhumane actions.

He also added that there was no female representation among the Taliban when they made public appearances, which shows they do not truly believe in women’s rights. Furthermore, he said, it is simply impossible to completely separate men and women in society.


"Well, yeah. Everything is gone."

"There were so many strong women who were the ministers in the private sector, and started to do lots of small businesses in Afghanistan, so many in every field. There was a lot of improvement for women."

"They will start protesting and I think there will be a lot of blasts. ... This is what I fear. In the coming months, it is going to be very bad."