Following the quick offensive and take over of Afghanistan, the Taliban have been reported marking doors of prominent Afghan women. Chilling claims speak of how the Taliban officials have demanded a massive search for well-known women and painting their doors as they are listed to be targets for future punishment.

According to the Mirror, just days after the Taliban had taken control of key cities, a number of female news anchors have been removed from state TV stations. Many believe this is a way to silence women from freely expressing their opinions. One female journalist in Kabul said that her sisters and female friends have been confronted by men shouting, “The Taliban are here to discipline you!”

Other female journalists have also reported Taliban forces going door-to-door looking for women who were activists, bloggers, YouTubers and those who had a role in the development of civil society in Afghanistan.

On Monday, journalist Amie Ferris-Rotman said the militants have been marking the homes of these women and painting them with bright pink or bright colored paint. She tweeted, "One sent me a photo from her living room showing armed Talibs outside. 'I love you,' she wrote."

As Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, the Taliban vowed to respect women’s rights and portray themselves as more moderate than when they imposed strict Islamic rule in the late 1990’s. Between 1996 to 2001 when the Taliban was in power, girls were banned from school and women were prohibited to work.

They were only allowed in public if they were escorted by a male relative and wearing a burqa. Women were also denied healthcare and forbidden to see a male doctor, however they also barred from medical practice. Those who defied the rules were subjected to public flogging.

A woman whose father was a former Taliban fighter, claimed that her own father conspired with a group of Taliban fighters late last year to attack her when she was two months pregnant. She was on her way home when she found herself confronted by three Taliban fighters. The 33-year-old woman, identified only as Khatera recalled how she was shot by the men in Afghanistan's Ghazni province and had her eyes pierced. She also sustained deep knife injuries all over.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, addressed concerns on Tuesday in his first-ever public appearance at a news conference. The Associated Press reported that Mujahid vowed the Taliban would honor women’s rights within the norms of Islamic law but did not elaborate on any specifics. He said women would be encouraged to return to work and girls allowed to return to school.

Although things may have improved in the last two decades for Afghan women, many still fear all their achievements will be taken from them. Afghanistan’s first first female mayor, 27-year-old Zarifa Ghafari said, “I’m sitting here waiting for them to come. There is no one to help me or my family.

Afghan women
Afghan women take part in a gathering at a hall in Kabul on August 2, 2021 against the claimed human rights violations on women by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Photo by Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images