The streets of Kabul went silent after the Taliban took power. People hardly ever leave their homes, says the AFP agency, a 20-year-old women’s rights activist. He compares the situation in the capital of Afghanistan to a “zombie apocalypse”. She cannot go back to university and work in a bank on her own. In other cities, the situation is slowly returning to normal – many shops and companies are reopening.
The once bustling streets of Kabul have died down. Chaos reigns only around the airport, where thousands of people gather and try to get out of the country.
“It’s like a zombie apocalypse,” says a women’s rights activist who asks not to be named. “People hardly go outside, and when they do, they are in a rush,” says the 20-year-old. “They come home as soon as they can,” he adds.
He cannot go back to university and work
According to the AFP, women, who were increasingly willing to wear Western clothes under the previous government, hardly leave their homes. On the other hand, sales of burqas increased. Many Afghans fear a reversion to the brutal interpretation of Muslim law that was implemented by the Taliban when they ruled in 1996-2001. This time, Islamic militants claim to guarantee women certain rights.
The activist claims, however, that she cannot return to university. He says authorities do not want women to attend classes until gender segregation is in place. “I think this is an idiotic decision,” he says. And he adds that there are not enough university lecturers.
The bank where she works has banned her from returning, citing concerns for her safety. In Kabul, advertising posters depicting models have been damaged or torn off. You can no longer hear pop music, which was completely banned under the previous Taliban rule.
According to a bank employee who spoke anonymously for AFP, widespread fear is working to the advantage of the Taliban. “They don’t have any army that can control the people, but fear controls everyone,” he said.
In other cities, the situation is back to normal
In the Taliban-occupied city of Khost in southeastern Afghanistan shortly before the fall of Kabul, militants apparently took a milder approach. “After a few days, things returned to normal. Traffic in the city slowed down, but many shops and small businesses reopened,” says a local charity employee to AFP.
“Boys and girls go to school as before,” he says, adding that the Taliban treat people much more leniently than expected.
In turn, in the city of Kunduz, devastated by weeks of fighting, residents began to rebuild their shops. “But not the houses, because they ran away and didn’t come back or don’t have the money to rebuild,” said the owner of the local company. He added that some of the poorer residents are so scared that they have stopped buying fruit or even using soap.
“They think they should save because in the future they won’t have a way to earn money,” the man says.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / AKHTER GULFAM