Women Nurses Work Side by Side With Men During Taliban Rule.
Women openly work alongside males at a key health facility in a community deep in the mountains of central Afghanistan that has been governed by the Taliban for a quarter-century.
Since a US-led assault toppled the violent and repressive Taliban administration in 2001, Tangi Saidan in Wardak province has lived in the shadow of the front lines but has never been fully under government control.
The Tangi Saidan clinic, accessible only by narrow dirt roads, is the only medical facility in the remote area, with local Taliban commanders granting considerable latitude in the movement’s gender segregation restrictions.
“We have to function here.” Women would die if we don’t,” claimed Sharif Shah, a guy and the sole surgeon who performs surgeries on women.
It takes hours to get to the clinic from some nearby settlements, and in the winter, when the roads are clogged with snow, patients are frequently transported on foot.
People in this impoverished mountain area have no way of getting to superior health facilities in Kabul, which is a day trip away on rugged, winding roads.
One nurse, a vaccine specialist, two midwives, a nutritionist, and two cleaners are among the clinic’s 28 employees: one nurse, a vaccine specialist, two midwives, a nutritionist, and two cleaners, who often work alongside men.
“When it is essential, Islamic law allows it,” Mohammad, the Taliban officer in charge of Daymirdad district’s health care, told AFP.
The Taliban, who took power in August when US-led forces pulled out of Afghanistan, have yet to offer any rules on how they will govern under sharia law.
Initially, they told women not to return to work until Islamic systems were in place.
Women’s health workers were later summoned to clinics and hospitals by the group, but many were too terrified to return to work.
Others in Kabul, Afghanistan’s most progressive city, complained segregation laws made their jobs too onerous.
Although she is chaperoned by a male “mahram,” or guardian, when she works the night shift, Jamila, the only female nurse at the Tangi Saidan clinic, claimed she has never had to fear about working in Daymirdad.
“People don’t mind men doctors since a doctor is similar to a mahram,” she explained.
This coexistence is governed by clear norms, one of the Taliban’s rare exceptions.
A female nurse can care for male patients when there are no male nurses available.
When there aren’t any female doctors available, a male doctor can treat women.
“Men and women.” The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.