Shrinking public space for Afghan women as Taliban expands curbs

Shrinking public space for Afghan women as Taliban expands curbs

Kabul, Afghanistan – As a 35-year-old university lecturer, Nazifa regularly took the local minivan, a popular means of transport in the Afghan capital, Kabul, for her daily commute from home to the university and back. As a native of the city, she was very familiar with the highways, streets and back alleys, and rarely ever felt uncomfortable travelling by herself.

That was until last week, when the minivan that Nazifa, who requested her name be changed, was travelling in was stopped by a Taliban guard.

“I was on my way home along with another female colleague when a Taliban stopped our vehicle and asked us where our mahram [male guardian] was. When we told him we did not have one, he was furious,” she told Al Jazeera.

“He made the driver drop us back to where we were picked from, instructing him not to take female passengers without mahrams. We had to walk for half an hour across the checkpoint before we could find another taxi who could take us home,” she said.

“I felt very hopeless and sad that day,” Nazifa said. “Since then I feel so much fear while travelling to work. I am so afraid they will stop me again, and punish me. It is so humiliating to be considered so worthless in one’s own homeland,” she said, breaking down.

Read full report on Al Jazeera