Videos of the brave women from Afghanistan shouting out against the Taliban decision to ban education for women have gone viral on social media. The announcement was sudden and many students got to know only when they went to their educational institutions. The horror and sheer shock has been captured on mobile phone cameras with women protesting, even as others try to stop them from challenging the barbaric regime. In some cases, according to unverified videos, male students and teachers have also lodged their protest. The Taliban have not taken too long to settle in, and as expected one of the first actions has been against the women. Somehow autocratic regimes insist on imposing curbs and restrictions on women as a symbol of their power. This comes from the fact that their version of power is from the patriarchal system, and hence the shackling of women is seen and projected as macho-ism that such rulers thrive on. So moral policing becomes the order of the day - as in murders for 'honour' ; women's dress ranging from jeans to the hijab ( for and against both) ; the choice women make in marriage. And now in Afghanistan again - no education for women, stay at home.

World leaders have issued statements against the Taliban decision, sounding more helpless than in command on the issue. Most of those who are pretending to be outraged have been playing footsie with the Taliban since the Americans moved out, and all from Biden to Macron to Sunak, are in league to keep the repressive government in power. Initially as fig leaf the Americans made the Taliban agree that no measures will be taken against the women but that is like asking the leopard to change its spots, as even if it agrees it just cannot do so. The Taliban are a highly regressive organisation, patriarchal and firmly bound in the belief that the woman should stay at home, serve her man, and not exercise her brain. It has never said otherwise, and unlike the hypocrisy of the western leaders who wear blinkers when it suits them, have made it clear from their inception that women will not be allowed any rights. However, when after a full circle of death and destruction to presumably destroy the Taliban the Amercians decided to leave, they reposed trust in the very organisation that they had denounced as anti-women in the first place.

The Taliban had been strengthened, rather than weakened by American occupation, and the other political groups destroyed in the process. Now the Taliban have spread their wings, settled down with US and Nato help, and are clearly confident enough to implement their anti-women ideology. Unfortunately like right wing regressive ideologues across the world, the Taliban too link the persecution of women and their moral policing to their interpretation of religion. It is imperative for all women of the world to support their sisters in such countries, to denounce such action and measures that take away the rights of women, and to speak up when governments strengthen their tentacles by persecuting and attacking women. This voice of the people for rights and equality has to transgress all barriers and boundaries, and speak up for injustice regardless of power and politics.