Friday, December 2

Being a woman in Taliban Afghanistan

  • The Islamist group has been reducing the space of women to the minimum expression under its mandate

  • ’29 looks’, a virtual photographic exhibition, tries to recover the media attention on the situation of these women

A total of 29 are the prohibitions that the taliban imposed on Afghan women during his first term in the 1990s and now, 20 years later, recovered after his return to power last August 15, 2021. These prohibitions, which range from not being able to study to even being able to talk to a man who is not a member of the family, have been reflected in the virtual art exhibition ’29 looks’ which will be inaugurated in physical format in November in Segovia.

The exhibition, directed and coordinated from the F8 Tours / F8 Estudio studio in Tudela, has the real testimonies of refugees who have fled Afghanistan as the former Vice President of the Assembly of Afghanistan, Fawzia Koofi, and the presenter of the news of the public television channel of Afghanistan, Khadija Amin. Both were pioneers in the exercise of recently acquired rights such as participation in political life or work outside the home, becoming two recognizable faces among the Afghan population. Amin was handed over to a marriage of convenience when I was very young and spent her early married years in seclusion and dedicated exclusively to housework. Years later he made the decision to break with those chains and began the career of journalism when she was chosen to be the news face on Afghan public television. “My husband didn’t like it, but he couldn’t forbid me,” she explains to this newspaper. “With effort I got the job I wanted so much,” she continues.

“The arrival of the taliban It was a hard blow for me. From one day to the next, my boss told me that women were not allowed to work and asked me to go home,” she explains to this newspaper. Her exile journey ended last year when, with the help of RSF, she arrived in one of the evacuation planes to Torrejón de Ardoz and later moved to Salamanca, where he is currently studying the last year of his degree.Even so, his flight continues to have a bittersweet taste after having been betrayed by her husband, who at the last moment decided to stay in Afghanistan preventing Khadija from bringing her three children to Spain. “As long as the Taliban remain in power, women have a very dark future ahead“, she says moved.

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“The war in Ukraine has very quickly extinguished the media focus on Afghanistan,” summarizes the Spanish journalist Antonio Pampliega in a phone call. The eight photographs signed by the war correspondent were taken between 2017 and 2018 on two of his last trips to the Asian country. In them, collected in a room attached to the one with the artistic representations of the prohibitions, other major problems of Afghan society are captured with real images of violence against women, forced marriage or female suicide.

fall into oblivion

“Afghanistan is the worst country to be a woman and if the world forgets it will be worse”, ditch. “The Taliban have gradually adopted the measures and prohibitions so that they go unnoticed. It is a strategy based on averting the focus to have freedom of action,” she explains. Although she acknowledges that the arrival of the Taliban has greatly deteriorated the situation of half the population, Pampliega points out that “believing that women were free before the Taliban is an illusion.”

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Her photographs capture situations that a woman with rights would not have gone through. Rural Afghan women were left behind as cities took small steps toward obtaining Rights from which they had previously been deprived. “What these women are experiencing could not be forgotten,” she says. Begoña Osambela to EL PERIÓDICO, the photographer who, together with her partner, Carlos Forcada, also a photographer, has organized and coordinated the work of more than 70 professionals, including renowned photographers, writers and journalists to highlight from an artistic point of view the unreason of the Taliban power in Afghanistan.

These 29 bans suffocate Afghan women more and more every day, whose lives have become a hell. It is in this situation that three major problems have been aggravated, which the exhibition has also echoed, such as suicide, sexist violence and the once again proliferation of forced marriages. “Marriages of convenience are a cultural thing in Afghanistan, but the economic crisis in the country is pushing many families to sell their younger daughters to be able to survive”, explains Pampliega. After that, the girls are reduced to the minimum expression and on many occasions they end up committing suicide to leave behind all the pain and mistreatment.

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