Chilling footage of the Taliban telling CNN reporter Clarissa Ward to "stand aside" because "she's a woman" has gone viral recently after it was shared on Twitter.
The 6-minute clip shows Ward doing her job as a journalist on the ground in Afghanistan wearing what looks to be a black abaya along with a black hijab to cover her hair. At first, things seemed to be going smoothly, with some members of the Taliban even co-operating and answering questions, but their "bizarre friendliness" she initially described did not last long. Soon enough, her presence alone started creating "tension" until she was told to "stand aside", the reason being the fact that she was a woman.
Now, it's no secret that the Taliban's regime is used to heavily oppress women and girls as young as 8 years old. From jobs to education, to their personal lives, every aspect of a woman's life under Taliban rule is whittled down to nothing but just their mere existence. Though these "laws" have not yet been implemented, judging by what became mandatory during the first Taliban takeover in 2001, the future is looking bleak. The US State Department outlined them via a report which stated that all women had to abide by the following rules:
- Wear coverings from head to toe.
- Women were not allowed to work, except in very limited circumstances.
- They were barred from attending schools.
- Women's healthcare was restricted.
- They were not allowed to leave their homes unless they were accompanied by male relatives.
- Women could only use special buses and were only allowed to take taxis when with male relatives.
- Women could not be with men who were not related to them on the street.
- The windows of houses had to be painted over to stop outsiders from seeing women in their homes.
Already, women have been covering themselves using burkas and niqabs, hoping not to antagonize the extremist group any further. According to Ward's report, she hardly passed any women on the streets of Kabul, and if she did, they were covered and/or escorted by a male companion, a massive step away from what the city looked like just over a month ago.
She added the fall of the Afghan Government and the withdrawal of US forces has caused women to stay off the streets out of fear.
"I have seen a few women, but I will say I have seen far fewer women than I would ordinarily see walking down the streets of Kabul."
Female journalists and politicians have been hit the hardest as they are frightened of extreme backlash from the Taliban against them due to their reporting and support of a more progressive country.
"There are so many of them across the country, and they've been doing bold and incredible reporting for many years, and now there's a very real fear that they might face retaliation for that or that certainly they won't be able to do their work anymore," Ward said of the situation.
Over the past twenty years, over 5 million Afghans have been displaced because of the ongoing conflict between the US and the Taliban. Due to the impact of the American soldiers in the area, the Taliban were forced to adopt more extremist ideals in order to regain control when the opportunity came, which they have over the past 2 weeks.
As all the foreign soldiers scurry out of the area they had been occupying for 2 decades, the citizens of Afghanistan have been left feeling betrayed by those who invaded their country, promising to "liberate" them. Not only that but for the men and women who gave their lives for this cause, how do we even begin to explain that their sacrifice was all for nothing in the end? A shameless and disappointing end to a conflict that shouldn't have happened in the first place.