The return of the Taliban: A catastrophe for Afghan women

As a photojournalist covering Afghanistan for two decades, Lynsey Addario has seen how hard the country’s women have fought for their freedom, and how much they have gained. Now, with the return of the Taliban, they stand to lose it all

29 August 2021 - 00:00 By Lynsey Addario

One morning in the summer of 1999, Shukriya Barakzai woke up feeling dizzy and feverish. According to the Taliban’s rules, she needed a Maharram, a male guardian, in order to leave home to visit the doctor.

Her husband was at work, and she had no sons. So she shaved her 2-year-old daughter’s head, dressed her in boys’ clothing to pass her off as a guardian, and slipped on a burka. Its blue folds hid her fingernails, painted red in violation of the Taliban’s ban on nail polish...

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