Since the Taliban swept to power in Afghanistan, it’s been difficult to get a picture of what life is like for Afghan women outside the capital, Kabul.
Three women — all in their mid-20s and well educated — gave CNN a glimpse of how their lives have been affected by the swift regime change.
CNN is not using their names, for their own security.
“No one trusts anything that comes from the Taliban’s mouth.”
One woman, originally from the northern city of Kunduz, has been sheltering in Kabul with her family ever since a rocket hit their home.
“Women are not leaving their homes; everyone is staying put at home,” she said of people she is still in touch with from Kunduz.
“I highly doubt the Taliban have changed. They don’t have the same values as Afghan people. Democracy is out of the picture for them. We are in the belief that the Taliban are putting up a front because the international community and United Nations is watching them closely,” she said in a voice note to CNN.
“The people here have lost their peace of mind.”
Another interviewee, who is still in Kunduz, told CNN she is stressed about meeting basic survival needs, like food and water. She described the city as quiet, but tense.
“It’s calm right now, but people are worried,” she said. “The Taliban are saying girls can go back to school, but once they do go, the [Taliban] complain that they must be escorted with a male relative. Girls cannot just go out by themselves anymore, they need a male chaperone,” she said.
For her, one incident encapsulates the seismic change in Afghanistan.
“The other day, one of our female teachers went back to school and hopped on a rickshaw to get there … However, the Taliban stopped them and beat up the driver for transporting her without a male chaperone,” she said.
“Everyone is waiting to see.”
A woman in the city of Herat described the shock that has gripped the city along with questions on what the Taliban’s laws and rules will look like.
“Women are stressed and are asking the question: Will we really go back to the ’90s after 20 years of so much hard work and progress?” she asked.
“Though men don’t feel the same personal level of anxiety as women, they are worried … for the future of their wives and children, especially those who have young daughters,” she said.
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