Shirin has just got an electric ID for herself, her two daughters, and a son. Her son’s name is misspelled and needs to be corrected. On Tuesday last week, she decided to go to the e-ID issuance center in the Sarai Shamali of Kabul to correct his son’s name.
Shirin left her house and witnessed on the streets that no driver was willing to take her to the Sarai Shamali area. Finally, after a few hours of waiting, a driver wants to take her to the ID issuance center. Shirin said that on the way, the Taliban stopped the car three times, telling the driver why he had taken a woman without a Mahram (male guardian). Recently, the Taliban’s Ministry of Promoting the good and Prohibiting the evil instructed the city drivers not to pick up women without mahram who intend to travel more than 72 kilometers. The ministry has also said that drivers should not pick up unveiled women in their cars. “I tried very hard not to talk to Taliban militants, but when they fined the driver 200 afghanis for me at one of the checkpoints, I had to explain my situation to them,” Shirin added. “That I have no Mahram (male guardian), and I have to do all my work myself.”
After much arguments with Taliban militants, Shirin finally managed to avoid paying the fine and reached the ID distribution center. There she realized that services were not provided at the ID card center. She decided to go back home without having her problem solved, but this time differently. “I did not have a Mahram and, I came home on foot for fear that the Taliban would beat or fine the driver.”
The middle-aged woman lives in a slum west of Kabul. She lost her husband to cancer four years ago. Shirin, who heads the family after her husband, has done her best not to leave her table empty. Working hard to make ends meet, she hopes for a bright future for her children.
The burden of her husband’s death made Shirin’s life bitter. Now, the Taliban have added to this bitterness. Before the Taliban came to power, she used to provide for herself and her children by sewing in a small shop, but now the Taliban have made life difficult for her. She begins each day with the apprehension that the Taliban will close her shop today, this hour or the next, and take their only source of income – a shop that did not prosper much after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. Shirin goes to her sewing shop every day, hoping to find a piece of bread. There is no one at home to take care of her little girl, so she has to leave her child with her parents. Her other ten-year-old daughter spends most of the time alone at home, devoting only an hour a day to going to a training center located near their home.
With the Taliban taking control of the country, women have faced many restrictions. Currently, women’s right to education and work is fraught with many challenges and limitations.
Like Shirin, there are hundreds of thousands of women who have lost their husbands or male guardians due to diseases or have been killed during wars. Now the question is, where do these women bring Mahram (male guardians) to advance their work and travel?