Afghan women's rights activist Zainab Hakimi said in an August 15, 2023 show on Al-Arabiya Network (Saudi Arabia) that the Taliban rule denies women their basic human rights such as education, work, access to public spaces, and politics. She said that women are even forbidden from working at women-only businesses such as beauty salons. In addition, she said that there is a prevalent atmosphere among Afghan women of hopelessness, mental pressure, and lack of faith in the government.
Reporter: "I feel terrible, just like two years ago, when [Taliban] took power and forced many people to escape."
Woman 1: "I am not happy today, because the Taliban do not rule the country in keeping with people's interests. I do not know why they have such a negative attitude towards women."
Woman 2: "I did not expect that the Taliban would ever take over the country. After they succeeded in that, they imposed more oppressive restrictions on women. I consider the day of Taliban's victory to be the worst day for the Afghan people."
Zainab Hakimi: "When the Taliban took power in Afghanistan, Afghan women were denied their most basic huma rights, which are religiously and culturally guaranteed throughout the world – their right to study, their right to work, their right to attend university, and their right to attend sporting venues and public parks.
"Recently, women were even forbidden from working at beauty salons – places and services that are run by women, exclusively for women. Now beauty salons are forbidden for women. Women were forbidden from having any presence in politics, or from working at any governmental or non-governmental organization. What rights have [the Taliban] given us? They have not given us any new rights. Rather, they have denied us the rights we already had."
Host: "There are reports about the mental state of the women there, and even cases of suicide – this also raises questions and should be discussed. Do you have any figures in this regard?"
Hakimi: "There are no figures, but as people living in Afghanistan, we can gauge the prevalent atmosphere among women in Afghanistan – an atmosphere of hopelessness, mental pressure, and loss of faith in the government, because the government has filed to fulfil its promises. They said that they would improve the state [of women] and they would reopen the schools and the universities, but two years have passed. Weren't these two years enough to reopen the schools?"