After two decades out of power, The Taliban has reinstated its control over Afghanistan, creating a motif of their past tyrannical policies implemented to marginalize religious minorities, women and girls. Around its initial inception, the Taliban is one of the biggest Sunni Islamist national movements in modern history (National Counterterrorism Center). They established the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in the early 1990s and seizing control of Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul in September 1996. The Taliban governed through a strict interpretation of the Qur’an, which the National Counterterrorism Center describes as “merciless policies on the treatment of women, political opponents of any type, and religious minorities” (National Counterterrorism Center). Controlling almost 90 percent of Afghanistan by 1998, the Taliban implemented policies barring women and girls from attending school, requiring full body covering in public, forcing women to be accompanied in public by a male family member and prohibiting women from working outside the home (BBC, 1). Due to these restraints, literacy rates of Afghan women during this time became the lowest in all of Asia (Goodson). However, in late 2001, the Taliban were removed from power by a U.S. campaign against Al-Qa’eda.

Now, two decades later, Afghanistan is experiencing a second shift of power. On August 15, 2021, the Afghan military collapsed and the Taliban once again retook control of Kabul. This occurred after the United States signed a peace agreement with the Taliban in 2020 to end a nearly two-decade-long war that cost $2 trillion, and nearly 3,500 American and coalition soldiers as well as tens of thousands of Afghan lives (The New York Times). This deal set a timetable for when American troops would leave Afghanistan, but it depended on the Taliban breaking ties with Al-Qa’eda and other international terrorist groups (The New York Times). The Taliban’s multimedia chief stated, “the defeat of the arrogance of the White House in the face of the white turban” to declare this deal to be a historical landmark (The New York Times). Despite concerns that were expressed by Afghan officials, in April 2021, president Biden made the call to begin slowly pulling American troops out (Goodson).

During the last few weeks, the Taliban has been reinstating, a wave of restrictions on women. The Taliban are banning women from public locations such as parks, gyms and most recently, schools (BBC, 2). Women have also been revoked the right to work in most fields and are once again mandated to wear strict full body covering (AP NEWS). In reaction to these bans, women have been publicly protesting; however, these protests are being quickly disbanded by the Taliban’s militia. In a source obtained by the Associated Press, one female witness explained how the Taliban’s military began whipping, beating and arresting the protesters (AP NEWS). The International Group of Seven (G-7 group) has spoken out on the issue stating, “The Taliban policies designed to erase women from public life will have consequences for how our countries engage with the Taliban” (AP NEWS). The Taliban’s current minister of higher education, Nida Mohammad Nadim, claimed that banning women from school was a way to prevent genders from mixing and acts as a punishment for the female students who were not wearing their hijabs correctly. He also argued that some subjects being taught in schools violated the principles of Islam (AP NEWS). A former female student of Sharia Islamic law is challenging this interpretation, she believes the Taliban’s actions contradict the rights that Islam and Allah gave all people and that the Taliban’s actions are not Islamic (BBC, 2). This resurgence of power and social constraints is a reenactment of history, and numerous international powers are beginning to take notice and express concern. As of now, it is uncertain specifically how the world powers are going to respond in retaliation to the Taliban’s policies, or what will become of the Afghan women.


[i] National Counterterrorism Center. Retrieved from:,from%201996%20until%20October%202001.

[ii] BBC 1. Retrieved from:

[iii] Goodson, Larry P. “Perverting Islam: Taliban Social Policy toward Women.”. Retrieved from:

[iv] The New York Times. Retrieved from:

[v] BBC 2. Retrieved from:

[vi] AP NEWS. Retrieved from:

Posted February 28, 2023