What’s the future for Afghan women and girls under Taliban rule?

Women with their children try to get inside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan, August 16, 2021. Photo by REUTERS/Stringer.

Afghan women made huge strides in equality over the past 20 years — going to schools, working outside their homes, and becoming police officers, journalists, and elected members of Parliament. Will those gains evaporate with the Taliban in power?

“All of those women who have been out working every single day for the last X amount of years are at home because they're terrified naturally,” says Lynsey Addario, who visited Afghanistan three times in the early 2000s. 

“I think the Taliban is, of course, on their best behavior right now. They're making all sorts of promises that women can stay in school and go to high school and graduate and work. But really, the truth will lie on what happens when all of the foreigners are out of the country, probably in the next two to three weeks,” she says.