Afghan Women Still Working Face A Scary Future

An ambulance was stopped in front of the hospital when the nurse arrived at work that Sunday, Aug. 15, and as he approached the house, he saw the driver standing beside the car, glaring angrily at the other nurses to turn around. back.

“She was screaming, ‘All the women are gone, sister, please go, the Taliban are here!’” Recalled a 35-year-old nurse. “At first we didn’t understand him; it seemed impossible. ”

Dressed in jeans and a blouse, white clothes he feared he would never be able to wear again in Kabul, he and the other women next to him climbed into the back of the car, which left everyone at home. For three days, the nurse was terrified that she would not be able to leave her house. On the fourth morning, she received a phone call from the hospital’s president: “The Taliban have no problem with women,” she recalled. “Please go back to work. There is work here that only you can do; We’ve got help, we need you. “

The nurse spoke to BuzzFeed News to share with readers “a real picture” of what it is like to be a working woman in Afghanistan right now, she said, requesting anonymity because she fears for her life.

For working women left in Afghanistan, the days since the fall of Kabul have brought with it fears and uncertainties about how their lives will be under Taliban rule. For months, the Taliban have openly stated their views on women’s rights. On Wednesday, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told reporters in Kabul that there was a “temporary ban” on working women and that it was because of their security that there was an uprising against the government.

“Our security forces are not trained [in] how to deal with women, ”said Mujahid. “Until we have enough security … we are asking women to stay home.”
But the early days of Taliban rule in Afghanistan only confirmed what Afghan women have been saying all along: that their country would once again be a place where women face dangers, restrictions, and limited opportunities. Women who were already there public speaking As for their freedom, they have fled the country, their homes and offices have been raided by terrorists, and posters with pictures of women have been vandalized throughout the city. The young girls were sent home from school and warned not to return. Hospitals such as the one where nurses work are differentiated between men and women – gynecologists and nurses can only talk to other women, and all women outside their homes should wear the hijab. Even in areas where the Taliban have not yet taken up the role of police, their return to power has encouraged people who intimidate women not to wear the hijab or to stay indoors.

“We are waiting now,” said the nurse, who has worked at the hospital for 10 years. “But even we do not know what to expect.”

For women as a nurse, a single member of the family, going to work was not an option but an important one. She is now dreaming of leaving Afghanistan, she said, but fears that this will not be possible because of her unique circumstances: The nurse lives with her mother and a disabled sister who needs constant care. Even before the bomb killed many people on the site Kabul airport Thursday, the nurse said she could not imagine taking an older woman and child among the homeless people struggling to get a few seats on board flights out of the country.

He said: “If something happens to my sister, or if I leave her, I will not be able to be alone.

Although the nurse did not trust the Taliban or the president of her hospital, she returned to the hospital on Thursday for work, she said. In the streets, he said, there were soldiers everywhere, carrying Kalashnikov and watching him pass through his hijab.

“The fear was great,” he said. “He looked at me like I was an animal. But I just told myself that maybe they are not like before, they don’t beat women anymore. He seemed calm, not violent. Even now.

At the hospital, security guards who regularly guarded each door were missing and the whole area looked upside down. They went in to find that most of the patient hospitals were empty – many just ripped off their IVs and left the hospital downstairs. Those who remained – a few sick patients, one expectant mother – appeared to be terrified, he said.

The COVID ward, which the nurse said was filled with at least a dozen patients until last week, was empty. The nurse heard from another nurse that relatives of some patients thought the Taliban were more dangerous than the coronavirus and took their sick relatives home or to the airport.

“We are no longer aware of the number of COVID patients in this hospital, or, in this city,” he told BuzzFeed News. “The health ministry is still preparing a lot of COVID, but nothing is real. No patient wants to leave their home and run for the Taliban.”

A small number of victims were taken to his hospital for treatment, but they were men, who could not cure them according to the hospital’s new rules. The nurse said she heard about the new order from a friend, who told her she had been sent home by Taliban troops when she saw him talking to a man who had bled his foot.

Nurses and doctors have to go to the hospital every day to register their presence in the Taliban. Amid the new procedures and empty wards, the nurse is struggling to motivate herself to continue appearing at work, she said.

Many patients, in an effort to avoid the danger of leaving their home, have turned to the medical profession in secret. The nurse recently had a baby when a pregnant woman approached her community for help. The nurse took everything she could and carried the woman to her home, where she gave birth secretly. The nurse left the woman with a list of medications she may need, but said she had never heard of her again.

The nurse is afraid to visit many homes because of the Taliban militants at a social center that oversees the city’s administration, but does not know how to make money. The president of a hospital recently told nurses that their salaries would remain until the city’s banks resumed operating – banks in Kabul closed on August 15, before former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled and the Taliban arrived in the capital. When the banks reopened about a week later, they were unable to enter due to overcrowding. The nurse said she could not use the ATM and did not know what to do if she ran out of money. If the Taliban forced women like her to resign, the nurse said, she would have no way to feed her family.

In their community, the nurse said that soldiers were not as problematic as ordinary men on the streets who suddenly set themselves up as moral guards, telling women to return home, wearing hijab, and embarrassing themselves, warning them of flogging. if they do not follow.

A few days ago, he argued with a store clerk who criticized him for wearing jeans all the time: “It’s a good thing the Taliban are here to take care of women like you,” she recalled. Since then, the nurse’s mother and a neighbor have been moving to buy bread and household items for the family.

The nurse has been in the house for a long time now, but her entertaining home environment no longer offers the opportunity to escape – the radio show shows nothing but stories. “What I see is a crown, a beard, and a gun,” said the nurse. “There are no Bollywood movies, Afghan Superstar, or our favorite movies.” The radio station, he said, was no longer playing music but Taliban religious songs, which “have no songs and sound like funerals.” ●

Khatol Momand supported the report.

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