History of Harem Guards


“Nancy also offered up an old photograph left in her care by the former Afghan royal court. In the yellowed black-and-white shot taken in the early years of the twentieth century, women dressed in men’s clothing stand guard in Habībullāh Khan’s harem. The harem could not be supervised by men because they posed a potential threat to the women’s chastity and the king’s bloodline. These women dressed as men solved the dilemma, indicating that such solutions may have been used historically in the highest echelons of Afghan society as well.”

The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan by Jenny Nordberg

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