The word Taliban, also spelled Taleban, means “student” in Arabic.
2. When did they form the government of Afghanistan and who forced them from power?
In September 1996, the Taliban began to rule over parts of Afghanistan. They ruled for five years, and after the attacks on September 2001, the Operation Enduring Freedom overthrew them.
3. Click on the links for the following concepts and then define them in your own words:
Organized rebellion against or to overthrow the government.
When a group of people use military tactics to harass a traditional army.
4. The Taliban as a social and political “movement” (group) is made up of “volunteers” from which Afghan tribe and people of what neighboring countries to Afghanistan?
The Afghan tribe that are members of the Taliban is the Pashtun Tribe, the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan. The Pakistani army, the Arab military, as well as the Central Asian militants are also involved.
5. Where does the US government believe that the Taliban’s headquarters is (city and country).
US officials believe that the Taliban headquarters are in or near by the town of Quetta, Pakistan.
Taliban Leadership and Organization
1. Who is considered by many as the current “leader” of the Taliban?
The main leader of the Taliban is Mullah Mohammed Omar.
2. Follow the link to his page and then answer the following questions:
This man is on the US government’s most wanted list for what 3 activities?
For sheltering Osama Bin Laden
For also sheltering al-Qaeda militants
Directing the Taliban insurgency against NATO forces
What is one of the only physical details really known about this man?
That he is tall and missing one eye
How did he get this physical feature?
It is said he was wounded by a shrapnel that entered his eye, he removed it himself and then sowed it shut.
Because he is so high on the FBI’s most wanted list, it is wise for him not to go out in public
Origins of the Taliban
What are the two competing stories about the creation of the Taliban?
In the early 1990’s, war was initiated by many countries surrounding Afghanistan. They were in the middle of obtaining a new government, but because of the war, it was not able to form. In 1991, the Taliban started out as a movement that was in opposition of the local governor. The most credible story of how the Taliban came into power was that in 1994, they captured two girls, raped them and hung the governor. In 1994, the group started to march northward, killing leaders and taking over provinces.
Another story about the beginning followers of the Taliban were that Mullah Omar found 50 armed students from his hometown.
Of the 2 stories a supporter would choose to believe which one?
A supporter would most likely choose to believe the first story because it is the more intimidating and “heroic” story.
Of the 2 stories an opponent would probably choose to believe which one?
An opponent would be more likely to choose the second story because it is less intimating, more of a “fluke” per say, as well less admirable because he corrupted students.
Read the very first paragraph and then summarize the Taliban’s quotation about its reasons for harsh treatment of women below:
The Taliban treat the women so poorly in order to create an environment where woman deserve respect in a sacred and pure place.
Under the Gender Policies heading, summarize the 8 points about the treatment of women by the Taliban provided:
Women are only allowed to go onto the streets with a blood relative while covering their faces.
Women cannot wear high heels unless it excites him
Women cannot speak out in public places because no stranger should hear a strange woman’s voice
All windows that you could possibly see a women through must be painted or covered.
Photographing or filming of women is banned and nothing of a women can be published.
Any words/names containing the word woman are changed.
Women are forbidden to go out onto their balconies.
Ban on women’s presence is banned from television, radio, or other public appearances.
Dress Code and Mobility
1. Scroll back up the page to find the definition of “mahram”.
The definition of “mahram” is any kin in which marriage and sexual intercourse with would be disapproved with.
What are some other restrictions that women faced regarding moving around the cities and countryside in Afghanistan under the Taliban? (3)
There was a ban on women riding bicycles or motorcycles, even with their mahrams. Women were also forbidden to ride in a taxi without a mahram. Males and females were not allowed to ride on the same busses, so segregated busses were introduced.
Why would an all girls’ orphanage be practically a prison under this system?
They wouldn’t have any kin to go out in the streets with, which was illegal. Many would not have a burqa.
Dress code stuff:
What is the name for the traditional outfit that women had to wear in Taliban Afghanistan?
What was the main reason for this strict control of women's’ dress?
Clothes were not to be bright colours, as it was deemed sexually appealing, which is not acceptable for strangers to see.
Employment and Education
Were women allowed to work at all under the Taliban rules (tricky question)?
No, but some were exempted. Allowing women to work was breaching purdah, which was for the separation of women and men in places such as the workplace. Women living in rural areas were still required to work, mainly because they weren’t getting an income. However, health professionals were allowed to keep their jobs because they were vital to ensuring the continuance of gynecological, ante-natal and midwifery services.
What industries were particularly hit hard by the Taliban’s work policies for women? Pick 2.
Elementary school teachers and female health professionals.
Were women allowed to be educated under Taliban law? What age did they have to stop going to school?
They were allowed an education up until the age of eight. They were promised to go back to school, but needed to create schools that prevented cross gender.
Find the quote that illustrates that the Taliban actually thought that they had increased women’s rights in Afghanistan.
The Taliban believed in the merit of their actions, and a representative stated in an Iranian interview “no other country has given women the rights we have given them. We have given women the rights that God and His Messenger have instructed, that is to stay in their homes and to gain religious instruction in hijab”.
Health Care and Forced Confinement
Give 2 reasons it was really tough for women to receive health care when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan. ]
Male doctors were not permitted to treat women patients. Because of the few women health professionals, women patients were required to drive along ways, which wasn’t possible to do mobility laws.
A study done in 1991 concluded that roughly what percentage of Afghan women they surveyed were showing signs of mental distress and depression?
Describe 3 other cultural prohibitions that were imposed on women or about women if Taliban ruled Afghanistan
Makeup, beauty salons, and nail varnish were prohibited.
Punishments for Breaking Taliban Laws
Read the information about the types of punishments women (and men) were subjected to in Afghanistan during the Taliban’s rule and summarize 2 extreme examples below:
-Five females were caught driving while researching emergency feeding programs by religious officers. They were publicly harassed and struck with a 5 foot metal and leather whip.
-Taliban members discovered a women teaching an informal school in her apartment. They proceeded to beat the children, throw the women down the stairs, and imprisoned her. The Taliban threatened to stone her family if she did not sign a declaration of loyalty towards the Taliban.
Who is the woman in the photo on this part of the web-page?
What is happening to her?
She is being publicly executed.
Where is it happening?
Ghazi Sports Stadium.
What crime is she accused of?
Killing her husband.
What happened to her for 3 years before this event?
She was imprisoned and tortured.
What organization took the film this photo is a screenshot from?
Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. RAWA
Women’s Resistance to the Taliban
Explain what the Golden Needle Sewing School was.
It was an underground school for women because under the Taliban law, it was illegal for women to be educated.
How did women “sneak in” 2 details.
The women would go to this place to sew. Underneath their burqa, they hid notebooks and pens. Children playing outside would alert the group if religious officials were around and the women would immediately pick up their sowing.
Why was the area that this school was in one of the most oppressed by the Taliban? 2 reasons.
Herat was so opposed because it was a very cultured city and full of Islamic people.
What is RAWA?
An organization to help the women of Afghanistan. It promotes the rights of women.
Who was the founder of RAWA and what happened to her?
Meena Keshwar Kamal was a student activist who founded the organization in 1977. She was assassinated in 1987.
What does RAWA work for? 3 main things.
-Involve the women of Afghanistan in social and political activities to acquire equal rights.
-Struggle against the government of Afghanistan based on non fundamentalist principles.
-Strives for multilateral disarmament.
Now that you know …
Write a personal reaction on this slide (3-4 sentences) in which you express your opinion about the treatment of women in Afghanistan by the Taliban. How does it make you feel? Why?
The treatment of women in Afghanistan is a horrifying and sickening well hidden secret. I watch the news and believe I keep up with current events in other countries, but had no idea that the abuse was as bad. Equality, education, and health care are some of the main needs to survive in today’s modern world. Equality keeps me in school. It enables me to travel, to drive, to learn, and to support myself. Equality gives me a life. Education does as well. Education keeps me equal, and to achieve a clean bill of health. It sickens me to know that women are disabled to these rights. To know they are punished, tortured, and killed for the things that I take for granted ,because they are a daily aspect of my life, horrifies me.-Alyssa
I knew that the women had obey certain rules; one being the way they dress. I was shocked to find that there were more harsher rules. I also didn’t know the women were allowed to be beaten. I’m glad though that there are some women trying to stand up for their rights risking there lives like the women found running a school in her apartment. This reminds me of the time where African American’s didn’t have the same rights as Caucasians. I take this from when I read that the women and the men having to ride on separate buses. From doing this I learned a lot about the treatment of the women in Afghanistan by the Taliban. I was definitely unaware that this was happening. It upsets me that it’s happening but no one is trying to fix it or prove that women should have rights to. We have worked very hard to get the same rights as men in the western part of the world and I just hope they can have the same success that we did.-Nicole
Do we …
As citizens of a country in which we are relatively free, safe, and equal do we have the responsibility to help places like Afghanistan become more like us? Why or why not? Explain your answer in 3 – 4 sentences.
Although freedom, safety and equality comes quite easily to many of us, it does not to all. Everywhere a person goes, discrimination and judgment is produced. I do not believe it is a person’s responsibility to help others out in a world where you work for a living, but if you do not feel guilty, that if you have no want to help, there is something wrong with you. After doing this project, learning more, I would put forth an effort to help women out.-Alyssa
Living in a place that is free, safe and equal I find myself taking it for granted until I learn about places like Afghanistan. I think that it is not necessarily a responsibility for us to help them bu more of a moral choice. It should be just something we do. I think that we shouldn’t force our experiences and knowledge about being free, safe and equal on them but I think we should try to help them see what a better quality of life they could have. If we could show them without physical/military forces I think they would be more likely to try it out. Ultimately, I think that yes we should help them but in a way that they won’t feel intimidated.-Nicole