After Kabul fell to the Taliban on August 15, 2021, Western media gave the group a new nickname: “Taliban 2.0.” In fact, the Islamic fundamentalist group that ruled Afghanistan in the late ’90s – overseeing a democratic regime that repressed women, religious minorities and political opponents – promised to create an “open, inclusive Islamic government”. and that women were “going” to be very active in society. ,
Danish photographer Nanna Muus Steffensen, 36, has lived In Kabul since 2019. As the international media slowly turned away, Musa quickly saw how the Taliban began to back down on their promises and launched a series of repressive measures, mostly targeted at Afghan women. The caretaker cabinet, set up in September, was comprised of hardliners – and no women. That same month, Afghanistan became the only country where girls could not attend high school. And in May, women were ordered to cover their faces in public and leave the house only when necessary. “It was a downward spiral over a year,” says Meuse.
Musée’s photographic work has explored the many ways – some everyday and some life and death – these restrictions have changed life in Kabul. Women are less visible on the streets, and the colorful clothes they once wore have been replaced by dark clothing. Fewer women are allowed to work, contributing to the economic crisis in which more than 90 percent of Afghans suffer from food insecurity. With middle-class families plunging into poverty means that many can no longer afford to go to private hospitals, public maternity wards are flooded. And mental health issues are popping up among a generation of women who are suddenly stripped of their professional and social selves. “Their entire identity has been taken away from them — their plans, their purpose, their future, their dreams,” says Meuse.