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Two Years On From Taliban Takeover, Afghan Women Are Being "Erased From Everything"; A Journey Back To The Silk Road. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired August 17, 2023 - 04:00   ET


COY WIRE, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hello, from the beautiful Southern California coastline, beautiful people. It`s Thursday. So, happy Friday Eve. I`m Coy

Wire. This is CNN 10. We journey all over the world, bringing you the best 10 minutes in news. We`re still here working on a story about a surfer,

inspiring people all over the world. That story soon to come.

We start today though, by recalling two summers ago in the nation of Afghanistan, where the Taliban, a radical Islamist group that had

previously ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s, took back power. This happened after the United States, controversially completed its withdrawal of troops

in the region. The Taliban initially presented itself as a more moderate version than that, which ruled previously, however, after their takeover,

life became very difficult, especially for women and girls living in the country. And they lost rights that were previously guaranteed to them. That

the Taliban rule has been characterized as repress and brutal.

After they rose to power, they closed schools, banned women from attending university, took away their ability to work in most areas, banned them from

public places like parks and gyms and even restricted travel. Plus, dwindling foreign aid to the country means that millions of Afghans are

battling drought, hunger, and illness.

Today, we`ll join CNN International Correspondent, Anna Coren, and hear from an Afghan woman 20-year-old Zahra, who says she can no longer ride her

bike, go to school or go outside without covering her face.


ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the corner of her room on a piece of string hanging by paper clips are the treasured

memories of 20-year-old Zahra.

ZAHRA, UNIVERSITY STUDENT: They are my favorite people that I have them in my life.

COREN (voice-over): Photos, drawings, mementos, a secret world of a life once lived that this Afghan university student now grieves for.

ZAHRA: When I stand in front of the mirror, when I look at myself, I just see a different Zahra from two years ago.

COREN (voice-over): On the 15th of August 2021, Zahra`s life as she knew it was shattered.

The Taliban swept to power after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan following its 20-year war, handing back control to the same group of

Islamic extremists who ruled in the 1990s.

While the Taliban promised to be more moderate and honor women`s rights within Islamic law, the past two years have brought only a hardline stance

towards women.

The closure of secondary school for girls, the forced implementation of the burqa, the restriction on travel without a male chaperone, the banning of

women from universities and working at NGOs including the United Nations. And just last month the Taliban closed all beauty salons that employed

roughly 60,000 women, many of them the sole breadwinners of their homes.

MAHBOUBA SERAJ, AFGHAN WOMEN`S RIGHT ACTIVIST: Women`s freedom doesn`t exist. There is no such a thing as women`s freedom anymore.

COREN (voice-over): Women`s rights activist Mahbouba Seraj, who stayed in Kabul while more than a million Afghans fled, says the Taliban government

is erasing women from society.

SERAJ: Even the rights that we had in Islam, even the rights that we had in Sharia, we are losing all of that. So if it is not annihilation, what is it


COREN (voice-over): For Zahra, an aspiring designer, it`s very clear what the Taliban demands of her.

ZAHRA: Just to stay at home, get married, you have to give birth to children, that`s it. And this is your life. This is what women made for.

COREN (voice-over): While the international community repudiates the Taliban`s treatment of women and girls, the Taliban is refusing to listen,

saying it will not be pressured.

BILAL KARIMI, TALIBAN DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON (through translator): Afghanistan was freed from occupation. Afghans were able to regain their country,

freedom, government and will. The only way to solve the problem is understanding and dialogue. Pressure and force are not logical.

COREN (voice-over): But human rights activists fear international condemnation is waning, and that the Taliban, desperate for international

recognition, is gradually being normalized.


WIRE: Ten second trivia. Ulaanbaatar is the capital of what country?

Thailand, Somalia, Mongolia, or Bangladesh?

The main industrial center of Ulaanbaatar is the capital and largest city in the nation of Mongolia.

We`re headed to the central Asian country now with CNN International Business Correspondent Richard Quest, we`ll learn more about the famous

silk road and we`ll dive deep down below the surface to see how the natural resources in this sparsely populated country impact the economy today.

We`ll also learn about the geopolitics of this country and the unique demographics that make this place special. And we`ll consider how the

region`s history may shape it`s future


RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Planes without end towering dunes of the desert. Once I see the Mongolian step first hand, I

understand why they call this the land of the eternal blue sky. This is the most sparsely populated sovereign country in the world. One`s home to one

of the largest empires in the history of humanity. At its height, the Mongol Empire stretched from the Pacific Ocean to the Persian Gulf.

(On camera): There`s a giant statue of Genghis Khan that looks over the main square here. Now, the empire that he put together, not only was it one

of the largest ever, it was also done in record time. It took him 25 years to put together an empire, the size of which it took the Romans 400 years

to do.

(Voice-over): The trading route known as the Silk Road started around this time. And it continues to influence the global economy today. Mongolia`s

immense mineral wealth and underground bounty of copper and gold. It`s learning in foreign investors.

(On camera): Nearly a mile underground at Rio`s mine in the Gobi desert. And in some ways it`s quite difficult to connect this basic mining

operation with the energy transition until you realize this is what it`s all about. This is the original awe. It has copper, gold and silver within

it, but it is the copper that today is the most valuable commodity because it is the copper that everybody wants.

(Voice-over): Geopolitics proves a delicate tight rope with this small democracy. It`s sandwiched between Russia and China. And it`s also trying

to entice investment from Western allies. And last year, a corruption scandal over coal exports, that to mass protests across the capital who

land batter. Inflation, the boogeyman of economies globally is more than 10%. And yet underneath it all, there are resources of minerals and

humanity that promise such a great future.

(On camera): The old and the new, Mongolia truly is a place of opportunity. Not only because of the resources underground, the metals, the ores and the

like, but also because of the human capital that is here. Two-thirds of the population are under 30. So with the right policies on education,

investment of future direction and provided, they managed to convince them not to leave the country, but to stay here and invest in Mongolia. It`s all

there for the future.


WIRE: And for today`s story, getting a 10 out of 10, honorificabilitudinitatibus truck driver from Omaha, Nebraska. Tim Dean has

a squeaky-clean driving record, celebrating a huge milestone. He reached 5 million accident-free miles at his company Wener Enterprises. He was

greeted by a celebration of honks and cheers from people who all gathered to celebrate the miles that went into this milestone. He is only the second

person ever to accomplish such a milestone.

And now onto my favorite part of the day, I want to give a special shout out to Chaparral Middle School in Diamond Bar, California. We see you.

Today`s word of the day was honorificabilitudinitatibus from at lead to the reach it`s said to be the longest word ever used in Shakespeare`s works

derived from a medieval Latin word, it can be translated as the state of being able to achieve honors. Well done. I`m Coy Wire and we are CNN 10.