In Kabul, a sense of grief and panic has overwhelmed women in the Afghan capital. With two-thirds of the population under the age of 30, most women here have never lived under Taliban control. So they don't own and have never worn a burqa.
Many younger women in Kabul feel the conflicting sense of despair and defiance. Mula, a model and designer, has worked for years to establish a small business and now she sees it heading towards obliteration. “My whole life has been about trying to show the beauty, diversity and creativity of Afghan women,” she says. All her life, she says, she has fought the image of the Afghan woman as a faceless figure in a blue burqa.
“I never thought I would wear one but now I don’t know. It’s like my identity is about to be scrubbed out. I stay up late at night, sometimes till one or two in the morning, worrying about what will happen. I am afraid that because I am rejecting the burqa, soon I will have to stay at home and I will lose my independence and freedom. But if I accept the burqa, it will exercise power over me. I am not ready to let that happen.”
As the Taliban close in on Kabul, women inside the city are getting ready for what may be coming. “Before, most of our customers were from the provinces,” says Aref. “Now it is city women who are buying them.”
One of these women is Aayla, who is haggling with another shopkeeper over rapidly inflating burqa prices. “Last year these burqas cost AFS 200 [£2]. Now they’re trying to sell them to us for AFS 2,000 to 3,000,” she says. As the fear among women in Kabul has grown, the prices have risen.
So not only are the women of Afghanistan being forced to cover with the burqa, but the male shop owners have inflated the prices, taking full advantage because they know the women must buy them because most of the women don't own any. They are being taken advantage because they must adhere to sharia law.
Credits to: The Guardian-content, Reuters, Daily Herald, NDTV.com and Fair Observer-photos.
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