But how the Taliban interpret Shariah will matter, too, she said.
“We just have to wait and see what is happening. The Taliban have not really started anything — check in one month, in two months, in six months,” she said.
Mahbouba, whom the Times is identifying by just one name to protect her and her organization, oversees a long-established safe house for women. She has not fled, or closed its doors, but she is keeping a low profile and calibrating what she says to the news media, she said.
When some Taliban recently came to her office saying that the women were being kept against their will, Mahbouba said she did not let them in, but went outside to talk with them.
They told her they had heard that “some women are kept prisoners here.” She rejected that, saying instead she was defending the honor of Afghan women.
“I do not let them go on the street to be used and abused by other people; these are the victims of family violence,” she recalled saying. “So, instead of running away and having them go to prostitution, I have kept their honor and I am keeping them safe.”
The Taliban appeared to accept that explanation, and Mahbouba said she was determined to have a dialogue with them.
But she also made a request: Please, she said, “keep watching, and if our world goes haywire and it becomes really terrible, we can let people know.”
An employee of The New York Times contributed reporting.