Afghani women push trolley full of grain sacks, armed Taliban men look on, semi automatics in hand

Group of Afghani women wearing burqa get the grain after standing in a long queue .They push heavily loaded trolley of grain sacks

Afghanistan is a country of approximately 23 million which, after three years of severe drought, 23 years of war and devastation and five years under the Taliban authorities, has been left as one of the poorest countries in the world. Afghanistan has the second highest maternal mortality rate in the world. Even before the Taliban came to power, Afghanistan had high maternal and child mortality rates and a very low literacy rate for women. But women participated economically, socially and politically in the life of their societies. Women helped to draft the 1964 Constitution. In the 1970s, there were at least three women legislators in the Parliament. Up to the early 1990s, women were teachers, government workers and medical doctors. They worked as professors, lawyers, judges, journalists, writers and poets.

After the Taliban’s rise to power, women and girls were systematically discriminated against and marginalized, and their human rights were violated. This resulted in the deteriorating economic and social conditions of women and girls in all areas of the country, in particular in areas under Taliban control. Women and girls continued to be severely restricted in their access to education, health care facilities and employment. During the Taliban’s rule, only about 3 per cent of girls received some form of primary education. The ban on women’s employment also affected boys’ education, as the majority of teachers had been women. Poor health conditions and malnutrition made pregnancy and childbirth exceptionally dangerous for Afghan women.

The Taliban’s policies also severely limited women’s freedom of movement. Women could travel only when accompanied by a male relative, which put a particular strain on female-headed households and widows. In May 2001, a decree was issued by the Taliban, banning women from driving cars, which further limited their activities. The resulting seclusion of women to the home constituted a form of solitary confinement and also created obstacles to women meeting with each other. Women were harassed and beaten by the Taliban if their public appearance was perceived to be in contradiction with Taliban edicts. Women’s removal from the public space also meant that women could not play any role in the political process and were excluded from all forms of formal or informal governance. Afghan women suffered domestic and other types of violence for the past 25 years, not just under the Taliban regime.

Despite many years of concern about the situation of Afghan women, it is only now, under conditions of extreme tragedy, political violence and destruction, that the situation has propelled Afghanistan and the plight of its women and girls firmly back into the global spotlight. For the first time outside of the setting of the United Nations and of the international community, there is a groundswell of concern, from Parliaments to First Ladies, from entertainers and media stars to non-governmental organizations, all calling for the full recognition of the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan.


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3 reacties

  1. “If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her."

    (Exodus 21:7-8)

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