This opinion piece originally appeared in Eurasia Review July 24, 2023
A Bleak Future for Women’s Rights
The takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban has sent shockwaves across the globe, raising concerns about the fate of women’s rights in the country. With a history of oppressive rule, the Taliban’s return to power has once again plunged Afghanistan into a dark era, particularly for its female population. As the world watches, it becomes evident that Afghan women’s rights are being systematically violated, leaving millions of girls without access to education and forcing countless women into home detention, stripping them of their ability to work and contribute to society.
One of the most alarming consequences of the Taliban’s takeover is the denial of education to Afghan girls. Prior to the Taliban’s rule, significant progress had been made in improving access to education for girls in Afghanistan. However, with the Taliban’s return, this progress is now under threat. It is estimated that around 15 million girls are being deprived of their right to education, effectively robbing them of the opportunity to build a better future for themselves and their families. This denial of education not only perpetuates gender inequality but also hampers the country’s overall development and progress.
Furthermore, the Taliban’s oppressive policies have forced more than three million women into home detention, effectively confining them to their houses and stripping them of their freedom. These women, most of whom are the only break makers, are not allowed to work or engage in any activities outside their homes, effectively rendering them invisible in society. This restriction not only denies women the right to economic independence but also perpetuates a cycle of dependency and marginalization. By confining women to their homes, the Taliban is effectively stifling their potential and denying them the opportunity to contribute to the country’s economy and development.
The impact of these restrictions on women’s rights goes beyond the individual level; it has far-reaching consequences for the entire nation. Women play a crucial role in society, and their exclusion from public life hampers the country’s progress and stability. By denying women the right to work and participate in decision-making processes, the Taliban is effectively silencing half of the population, depriving Afghanistan of their valuable contributions and perspectives. This exclusion not only undermines the principles of equality and human rights but also hinders the country’s ability to rebuild and move forward.
The international community has expressed deep concern over violating women’s rights in Afghanistan. Organizations and governments around the world have called for immediate action to protect the rights of Afghan women and ensure their safety. However, the road ahead remains challenging, as the Taliban’s oppressive regime shows no signs of relenting, and the international community has never created any actual pressure on the Taliban. It is crucial for the international community to continue exerting pressure on the Taliban to respect women’s rights and provide them with the opportunities they deserve.
In addition to international pressure, it is essential to support grassroots organizations and activists within Afghanistan who are working tirelessly to protect women’s rights. These individuals and groups are at the forefront of the fight for gender equality, often risking their lives to advocate for change. By providing them with the necessary resources and support, we can empower them to continue their vital work and amplify their voices.
The situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover is dire, particularly for women and girls. The denial of education to millions of girls and the confinement of women to their homes clearly violate their fundamental rights. The international community must stand united in not only condemning these actions but shall react. It is only through collective action and unwavering commitment that we can hope to bring about a brighter future for Afghan women, where their rights are respected and their contributions are valued.
A Grim Reality for Human and Women’s Rights Activists
The recent takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban has not only brought about a bleak future for women’s rights but has also resulted in a crackdown on human rights activists and social advocates. Since the Taliban’s return to power, hundreds of individuals who have dedicated their lives to promoting human rights, women’s rights, and social justice have been subjected to arrest, torture, and even death threats. This alarming development highlights the oppressive nature of the Taliban regime and the dire situation faced by those who dare to speak out against their oppressive rule.
Among the prominent activists who have fallen victim to the Taliban’s crackdown are Amad Dawran, Aium Azimi, Noorail Kaliwal, Matiullah Wesa, Rasool Parsi, and Ismail Mashal. These individuals have been at the forefront of advocating for human rights, women’s rights, and social progress in Afghanistan. Their tireless efforts to bring about positive change have made them targets of the Taliban’s wrath, resulting in their arrest, torture, and threats to their lives.
The arrest and detention of these activists not only violate their fundamental human rights but also send a chilling message to others who dare to challenge the Taliban’s oppressive regime. By targeting these individuals, the Taliban aims to silence any dissent and maintain a stranglehold on power. This crackdown on activists clearly indicates the Taliban’s disregard for freedom of expression and their determination to suppress any form of opposition.
The torture and mistreatment of these activists further highlight the brutality of the Taliban’s rule. Reports of physical and psychological abuse, including beatings, electric shocks, and mock executions, have emerged, painting a grim picture of the conditions faced by those who have been detained. These acts of violence not only inflict immense suffering on the victims but also serve as a warning to others, instilling fear and discouraging any form of resistance.
The threats to the lives of these activists are a stark reminder of the dangers faced by those who dare to challenge the Taliban’s authority. The Taliban’s history of targeted killings and assassinations is well-documented, and these threats serve as a chilling reminder of the risks faced by individuals who refuse to conform to their oppressive rule. The fear and uncertainty created by these threats further contribute to the climate of repression and intimidation that now pervades Afghanistan.
The international community has expressed deep concern over the treatment of human rights activists in Afghanistan. Organizations and governments worldwide have called for the immediate release of individuals still in Taliban’s prisons and an end to the violence and intimidation. However, the Taliban’s grip on power remains strong, and their disregard for international pressure is evident. It is crucial for the international community to continue to exert pressure on the Taliban and hold them accountable for their actions.
Supporting grassroots organizations and activists within Afghanistan is also vital in the fight for human rights and social justice. These individuals and groups are on the front lines, risking their lives to advocate for change and protect the rights of the Afghan people. By providing them with the necessary resources and support, we can help amplify their voices and empower them to continue their vital work.
The situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover is dire, not only for women’s rights but also for human rights activists and social advocates. The arrest, torture, and threats faced by individuals such as Amad Dawran, Axum Azimi, Noorail Kaliwal, Matiullah Wesa, Rasool Parsi, and Ismail Mashal clearly violate their fundamental rights. The international community must stand united in condemning these actions and demanding the immediate release of these activists. Only through collective action and unwavering commitment can we hope to bring about a brighter future for Afghanistan, where human rights are respected, and the voices of activists are heard and valued.
Najib Azad is a lecturer at the university of Wisconsin USA, a politician, lawyer, author, analyst, advocate, consultant, researcher, founder, and leader of the Bawar Movement, a political party in Kabul. He was once the spokesperson to President Ashraf Ghani; he can be reached at: www.najibazad.com