AFGHAN WOMEN Fear Obama’s Peace Talks & Return of the Taliban
For some reason women in Afghanistan fear the return of the Taliban.
The women in Afghanistan fear the return of the despotic, mysogynous fundamentalists after the US withdrawal.
Asia Sentinel reported:
They fear despotic, misogynous Islamic fundamentalists likely to return them to the dark ages.
The report Wednesday from Washington, DC that US President Barack Obama has set in motion a substantial withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan is hardly good news for Afghanistan’s women. Withdrawal of 10,000 NATO troops is expected by the end of the year. Women in the country are hearing rumors that talks with the Taliban are already taking place in secret.
This is alarming. Without the representation and participation of women there can be no assurance that their rights will be upheld after the peace process and that could spell disaster. Women risk losing liberty, education and employment if the fundamentalist Taliban were to win a significant place in the Afghan government.
The presence of foreign troops has caused significant issues, too. For example, a recent errant NATO strike killed at least nine women and children. But women say this tragedy should not be used as a reason for a troop withdrawal. The Taliban are responsible for the majority of civilian deaths during the war and intolerable abuse of women.
In May, Safia Siddiqi, a women’s activist and former member of the Afghan National Economy Committee, said on a national radio broadcast that nothing had improved for women in rural areas and that women need each other and the international forces to attain peace and security.
Female activists recall that in 1948 Afghanistan was a signatory to the Declaration of Universal Human Rights and in 1953 ratification of the Convention on the Political Rights of Women afforded them all the political rights – including the right to vote in elections and to hold public office – that men enjoyed.
Women’s rights are not a recent western import but freedoms taken away by successive regimes that waged war with foreign interference, they say. Even with these rights, in the past educated women were the elite few and the majority lived enclosed within the confines of the home, often uneducated. This is true today, too, but with a key difference: Most women now know precisely what they should still have.
Before Sept. 11, 2001, Afghan women begged the international community to help them. I interviewed many myself in 2000 and 2001 while reporting on aid programs for a UK-based non-governmental organization. Educated or not, rich or poor, all the women appealed to me to ask my government to save them from the Taliban.