The Taliban are trying to figure out, now that they are back in power in Afghanistan, how to handle some of the country's most vulnerable women — those in shelters.
Whether under Taliban rule or not, women in Afghanistan's deeply conservative and often tribal society are often subject to archaic codes of behavior that hold them responsible for the honor of their families. They can be killed for simply marrying a man of their choice. They are often married at puberty. Fleeing even an abusive husband is considered shameful. Hundreds of women are jailed for so-called "morality crimes," including adultery or running away from home, even though they are not officially crimes under the Afghan penal code.
Over the past 20 years, activists created dozens of shelters around Afghanistan for women fleeing abusive families or husbands or forced early marriages.
Even before the Taliban, conservatives viewed shelters with suspicion, believing they help women defy their families or promote immorality.
The hard-line Taliban aren't sure what to do with the shelters. They have shut down some shelters, allowed others to continue to operate and have taken a few women into their own protection.
According to The Associated Press, the Taliban have resorted to placing some women who are staying in the shelters in the abandoned women's section of the country's main prison, Pul-e-Charkhi.