Women of Afghanistan

Responsibility of the Muslim world

In 2010, when Biden was vice president, he went on a mission to Afghanistan. The US envoy to Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, recounts the verbal spat which he had with Biden. The envoy has objected to Biden’s wish for a swift withdrawal, justifying his position that the US has a responsibility to protect the Afghan people from the Taliban regime. Biden’s reply was: “Damn with it. We don’t have to worry about that. Nixon and Kissinger did it in Vietnam and nothing happened to them.” In Holbrooke’s memoirs, it is mentioned that Biden became enraged when he was reminded of the rights of Afghan women which would vanish under Taliban rule. Biden was quoted as saying: “I will not send my son here to protect the rights of these Afghan women. We didn’t come here for that reason!”

The Afghan tragedy has revealed some facts. Only the strong political leaders and those with enlightening ideas for the future can prevent extremist groups, as well as their open and secret sympathisers from returning. All the talks about change and development are just lies to reach power and impose its agenda. Everyone had expected that the Taliban which has returned after the collapse of the political system built by the US is a new Taliban. It gave hope for a normal life for millions of people, before Biden decided to leave.

Amidst all this scramble and conflict in the world, Afghan women are paying the price. One Afghan woman, who was recently denied the right to a university education, said: “I am completely broken. I lost all my dreams, and my life is over.”

[by Mamdouh AlMuhaini in Asharq Al-Awsat]

Nada Muhammad Nadeem, Minister of Higher Education of Afghanistan, justified his government’s decision to close the doors of universities to women, mainly because the female students did not adhere to the appropriate Islamic dress code, and that there was mixing between male and female students.

The Taliban movement used the issue of “Islamic dress” to justify its decision. This is like what we are seeing in Iran. We previously witnessed a feminist struggle in Saudi Arabia, which focused on the issue of allowing women to drive. The right was later granted by the authorities, prompted by the desire of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to give impetus to social reforms. The Taliban model seems unique in its strictness and cruelty and its dire results. Afghan women have summed up their harsh conditions by demanding bread, work and freedom.

The responsibility of any government is to protect the lives of its citizens. But the interest of the Taliban movement is focused on “separation of the sexes” and implementation of the “Islamic dress”. Then it must provide bread for its citizens and work opportunities.

The exceptional case of the Taliban movement will help in negatively stereotyping of Islam and Muslims. This requires the influential Islamic countries to cooperate with each other under the international system to support the moderates in Taliban and support the rights of Afghan men and women to a decent life, greater justice and a rational system.

[Editorial in Al-Quds Al-Arabi]

Compiled and translated by Faizul Haque

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