Between 1996 and 2001, the Taliban held power over a large swathe of Afghanistan (effectively the entire country). During that terrible period, they imposed an extreme version of Sharia that all but wiped out any rights that women had. Their treatment of women was notorious for its savagery, as these blanket rules prove.

– Women had to wear the burqa at all times in public, apparently because ‘the face of a woman is a source of corruption for men’.


– Women were not allowed to have jobs.

– Women were not allowed to be educated after the age of 8. Before that, they could only study the Quran.

If a woman was found attending an underground school, she could be tortured and executed.

The Guardian

– Women were not allowed to walk in public unless accompanied by a blood relative. They could also not be in direct contact with any male apart from a blood relative.

They could not ride cycles, or be in taxis without a relative. 

– Women could not wear high-heeled shoes or speak loudly in public.

– Women were not allowed to be treated by male doctors unless accompanied by a male chaperone.


– All ground floor and first floor house windows were painted over so women could not be seen from the street.

Women could also not appear on the balconies of their homes.

– Displaying pictures of women in shops, newspapers, books and even homes was disallowed. Filming or taking photos of women was also banned.

– Women could not appear at any public gatherings, on television, or even on the radio. 

The Current

If women broke these rules, they were subjected to savage punishments such as beatings, lashings, stoning, and rape. Women (including young girls) were also routinely abducted and forced into marrying Taliban fighters, which was basically a form of sexual slavery. If they continued to defy the Taliban, they were publicly executed.