About Face

In the streets of Kabul, you can see something these days that has not been glimpsed there for almost five years—women's faces. Now that the Taliban has fled the city, a few brave women have shed the burka—the head-to-toe garment, to Western eyes a kind of body bag for the living, made mandatory by the defeated religious leadership. Men sometimes look in astonishment at these faces, as if they were comets or solar eclipses. So do other women. From the moment in 1996 that the Taliban took power, it sought to make women not just obedient but nonexistent. Not just submissive...

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