'No one trusts anything that comes from the Taliban's mouth'
Updated 0858 GMT (1658 HKT) August 20, 2021
Since the Taliban swept to power in Afghanistan, seizing provincial capitals at lightning speed, it's been difficult to get a picture of what life is like for Afghans outside the capital, Kabul. Especially for women.
On Thursday, CNN reached three women -- all in their mid-20s and well-educated -- to get a glimpse of how their lives have been impacted by the swift regime change and how they feel about their futures under Taliban rule.
All three would have been young girls when the Taliban were previously in control, before being removed from power in 2001. CNN is not using their names, for their own security.
Fled to Kabul
One woman has been sheltering in Kabul with her family ever since a rocket hit their home in the northern city of Kunduz.
"Kunduz is not a place to be at this moment. Nobody should be there," she said.
"I am connected with many of my former colleagues that are still stuck in Kunduz. Women are not leaving their homes; everyone is staying put at home," she added.
"Those who had jobs are scared to go outside. Everyone is afraid of the likelihood that the Taliban will stop them outside or put their lives in some form of danger."
She drew a distinction between anyone working for themselves and those who had a connection with the previous government.
"Those who worked for themselves don't see much of a big change. They are continuing their work at home, being self-employed. Government employees on the other hand are all at home and can't go back to work despite the Taliban announcing they are free to go back," she said.
"The thing is, no one trusts anything that comes from the Taliban's mouth."
"I highly doubt the Taliban have changed. They don't have the same values as Afghan people. Democracy is out of the picture for them. We are in the belief that the Taliban are putting up a front because the international community and United Nations is watching them closely," she said in a voice note to CNN.
"I am trying to see how I can leave the country entirely via NGO's and humanitarian agencies," she added. "Unfortunately, no one has helped me in this area."