Taliban fighters in early July were claiming territory from government forces around Afghanistan.

Some of them stormed the Azizi Bank offices in Kandahar and directed nine women employees to vacate the area, bringing them home and telling them not to report to the office anymore.

Three of the women said the fighters told them they can have their male family members take over their place.

“It’s really strange to not be allowed to get to work, but now this is what it is,” 43-year-old Noor Khatera told Reuters.

“I taught myself English and even learned how to operate a computer, but now I will have to look for a place where I can just work with more women around.”

The situation could indicate the reversal of the rights fought by Afghan women for over two decades.

Since the US troops started the withdrawal in May, the Taliban have taken over the country and have arrived in the capital on Sunday.

Women were not allowed to work and had to conceal their faces, as girls were banned in schools from 1996 to 2001 under Taliban rule. They also require women to be accompanied by a male family member if they step out of their residences. Humiliation and public beatings await women who refuse to go by the rules.

What happened at Azizi Bank also took place in Bank Milli a couple of days later, said the female cashiers who saw the incident.

The branch was stormed by three armed Taliban fighters who reprimanded female workers for revealing their faces publicly. This pushed the women to quit their jobs and have their male relatives take their role instead.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said no decision was made yet whether to allow women to work in banks.

“After the establishment of the Islamic system, it will be decided according to the law, and God willing, there will be no problems,” he said.

It was feared that the Taliban would deny women the freedom they won in nearly 20 years.

Since the Taliban and US-supported Afghan government started peace negotiations last year, a series of attacks have already claimed the lives of women journalists, law enforcers, and healthcare workers.

Most of the targeted killings were blamed on the Taliban.

“The Taliban will regress freedom at all levels and that is what we are fighting against,” an Afghan government spokesperson said, as reported by Al Jazeera.

“Women and children are suffering the most and our forces are trying to save democracy. The world should understand and help us.”

“With every city collapsing, human bodies collapse, dreams collapse, history and future collapse, art and culture collapse, life and beauty collapse, our world collapses,” Rada Akbar wrote on Twitter. “Someone please stop this.”