Unlike in the 1990s, the Taliban are allowing some women to work. Women are back in their jobs in the health and education ministries, as well as at Kabul International Airport, often next to men. But women are still waiting to return to work in other ministries. Thousands of jobs have been lost in the economic downward spiral, and women have been hit hardest.

Afghanistan has undergone a dramatic transformation in half a year of Taliban rule, AP reports.

The country feels safer, less violent than it has in decades, but the once aid-fueled economy is barreling toward collapse. Tens of thousands of Afghans have fled or have been evacuated, including large numbers of educated elites. They either fear for their economic future or lack of freedom under a group that ascribes to a strict interpretation of Islam. During its previous rule in the late 1990s, the Taliban barred girls from school and women from work.

Tuesday marks six months since the Afghan capital of Kabul was ceded to the Taliban with the sudden and secret departure of the country’s U.S.-backed president. The takeover of Kabul had been preceded by a months-long Taliban military campaign to take control of provincial areas, many of which fell with hardly a fight.

Today, the sight of armed Taliban fighters roaming the street still jars and frightens residents. But women have returned to the streets, and many young men have put on Western clothes again after initially shedding them for the traditional shalwar kameez, the long shirt and baggy pants favored by the Taliban.

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