‘We don’t have a future’
In Taliban's first news briefing since their return to power in Kabul, the group's spokesperson said the new regime would be "positively different" from their 1996-2001 stint, which was infamous for deaths by stoning, girls being banned from school and women from working in contact with men.
On August 17, two days after seizing power in a lightening offensive, the movement's main spokesman said women would be allowed to work and study.
But months have passed since then and the promises are now beginning to sound hollow. Despite the assurances, nearly a million of country's female-students' future looks bleak.
The Taliban have opened schools for both boys and girls. They have also allowed private universities to run classes. However, only a few students and teachers are attending those, signaling a deep-rooted fear among the educated Afghans for the hardline Islamist group.
Sana Tahah, 20, a second year student of the Kabul University at the Archeology and Anthropology Department, narrated how she hurried back home with her school-going sister when Kabul fell to the Taliban.
"At that evening, I thought everything we gained in last 20 years had been lost. Still I can't sleep at night," said Sana adding that her younger sister is still traumatised.
"She still shut all the windows and doors every time when she feels the Taliban are near our house to take us away."
Saiema Sultani, 23, a second year-student of the International Relations Department at the Kateb university, shared similar experiences.
"Although our university reopened, only around 10 percent of female students are attending classes. They are too afraid to come."
She said the Taliban have divided the boys and girls by curtains in the classrooms.
The Taliban have told the UN that they are working on a framework which would allow the Afghan female students to attend the classes as they have to ensure their safety first.
"The reality is that the Taliban are just lying. They are acting that they have changed because they need the recognition from the international community. When they will get that they will force the women to stay home,'' said Saiema.
For 20-year-old Sofia Karimi, a second year student of the Law and Political Science Department at the Kabul University of, the society before the latest Taliban rule wasn't an ideal one either. The women rights were only on papers and the society treated women no better than the Taliban.
But the legal rights, which Afghan women had to earn after the brutal Taliban rule which ended in 2001, built an air of freedom and promised a better future to fight for.
"But now we have no hope, no future," said Sofia, adding that most of the successful women are hiding after quitting their businesses and works to save themselves from the Taliban's wrath.
"If Taliban want to rule Afghanistan, I think they should allow women to study and work," she added.
Sana Talah said how her life has been upended since August 15.
"I used to go to university, art classes. After that I used to volunteering in an orphanage to help the kids. I participated in sports too. But now, I am only spending worried days at home."
"It's not just me, it's happening to every girl of the county," said a dejected Sana Talah.