With the Taliban takeover in August 2021, many both outside and inside Afghanistan voiced concern that the conditions of Afghan women would return to those of the 1990s, when the group was last in power. Yet the question of whether the intervening decades of Western-installed rule produced any meaningful improvements in women’s status remains highly contested. This article explores the subject of gendered change during the Islamic Republic (2001-2021) through the growing phenomenon of divorce. We suggest that the notable increase in court divorces during this period did represent a destabilization of the near absolute marital authority that many Afghan men felt to be invested in them by society at large. At the same time, we show that the increasing resolve of women to take marital grievances to court must be located not just in normative shifts, but also in specific socio-economic transformations, which had chipped away at the material underpinnings of marriage as conventionally understood and organized. Overall we find that there were important changes in women’s ability to access certain rights during the Islamic Republic and that the return of Taliban rule therefore is a dramatic setback also for Afghan women’s rights in marriage.