(N) World News): Shekiba Aryan pushes her feet deep into the pedals of her bike, the tyres rhythmically humming as she speeds down the asphalt road in her home town Bamyan, her dark hair pulled back tightly into a ponytail under her helmet. She is only 18, meaning she did not live through the Taliban’s rule in her native Afghanistan. Laila Haideri, a curly-haired 41-year-old, was not that lucky. She grew up during the militants’ reign, but years later would become the first woman in Kabul to independently open a restaurant. The profits funded a drug shelter that has so far helped more than 5,000 people – most of them men – overcome addiction. Both wonder how their lives will be under a potential merger of the Afghan government and the Taliban as direct talks between the two are set to start and negotiators head to Doha. Women are concerned whether the hard-won freedoms they have pushed for will continue under such a regime. “If the Taliban comes back, the situation for women might become more difficult. We might not even be allowed to go outside to do sports,” Ms Aryan said.