Scorch said, “Verum, last week, you told us about Afghan women protesting against the Taliban’s restrictions on work and studying. Are there any updates?”

“Let me check, Scorch,” said Verum, “That’s definitely an important piece of news.”

Verum gazed into her trusty crystal ball intently looking for an update. But her expression soon fell. She said, “Yes, Scorch, there is an update. But it isn’t a good one.”

“Oh my MysticLord,” exclaimed Scorch, “Tell me about it anyway.”

“Please give context first,” chimed in a sheepish Felix.

“The Taliban, an extremist group ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. But the United States (US)  invaded Afghanistan and overthrew the Taliban from power,” said Verum, “Now, nearly 20 years later, the US withdrew its troops. The Taliban took over Afghanistan once again.”

“When it ruled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001, the Taliban had extreme views about society. For instance, under Taliban rule, women weren’t allowed to study or hold jobs,” said Scorch, “Afghan women are afraid of history repeating itself. That’s why they have been protesting.”

“Ever since the Taliban came back to power, they have claimed women will be allowed to work and study under their rule,” said Verum, “But women employees, except those working in public health, have been asked to stay away since the takeover on 15th August.”

“The Taliban’s Higher Education Minister Abdul Baqi Haqqani recently announced new rules for Afghan women students,” continued Verum, “They will be allowed to study in schools and universities but not with men students. They will be divided. And women students will have to wear veils to universities.”

 “And how have Afghan women responded?” said Felix.

“Some women gathered in Kabul to support the Taliban. They wore full-length black abayas, which covered their bodies and faces, and carried Taliban flags. They said women wearing make-up and modern clothes do not represent Afghanistan,” said Verum.

She added, “But some of those who protested took to the Internet and posted pictures in colorful Afghan costumes with embroidery and mirror work on their social media with the hashtags #DoNotTouchMyClothes and #AfghanistanCulture. Traditional Afghan dresses are the real culture of the country.”