The busy street of Kabul almost seems as if nothing has changed. People are rushing in, traders are putting away their colorful wares, and the police are directing traffic.
There is one big change, however: there are hardly any women here. Since the Taliban took control of the Afghan capital on Sunday, women have largely remained inside.
The Taliban have said time and again that women’s rights will be protected under their rule, but it is clear that many Afghan women are terrified of the prospect of living under the Taliban.
Far fewer women are venturing onto the streets now, compared to just a few days ago. Those who brave the outside world tend to be dressed more conservatively than before, their faces often covered in niqabs or veils.
Many educated and intrepid women who have spent the past decade building their careers are desperate for a way out, fearing they will be targeted by the Taliban.
“I think about my future, about my daughters, what will happen to them if they kill me – two motherless daughters,” a woman told CNN.
The woman, who CNN does not name for security reasons, has worked for a number of international NGOs. She said she had spent days desperately begging for their help, but none responded.
“It’s not easy … having more than 10 years of international experience [organizations] and none of them helped me, ”she said.
For a clothing store in central Kabul, the Taliban takeover has boosted business; Its owner told CNN that he has sold numerous burqas in recent days.
The garment covers the body from head to toe, with a mesh panel over the eyes. It was compulsory attire for women when the Taliban last ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s.
The burqa has become much less common in Kabul over the past two decades, but news that the Taliban are once again in charge has sparked a surge in sales.
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