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Save Afghan girls and women from the Taliban beasts

Social media, Taliban, Afghanistan, Afghan, Female, Women, Girls

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Save Afghan girls and women from the Taliban beasts

On social media, horrifying videos showing notorious Taliban beasts are storming into Afghan houses and abducting young girls and women. In one of those videos, Taliban fighter is seen forcefully abducting a minor girl, possibly seven-years-old while other members of the family are silently witnessing this cruelty as they fear, any objection to such barbaric acts would only put the family members into danger.

Following Taliban invasion of Afghanistan, perhaps nobody has dreaded the return of the Taliban more than the women of Afghanistan. For the last 20 years, there have been many advances to women’s rights, which the current situation looks set to erase almost overnight.

Taliban opposes empowerment of women and girl’s education. They want girls and women stay inside Islamist cage and continue comforting men as sex slaves.

It may be mentioned here that, the past 20 years have seen huge progress for women in the country. Women’s movements are no longer legally restricted, nor are women legally required to wear the burqa, but can freely choose to, if they wish. A new constitution in 2003 protected women’s rights and, in 2009, Afghanistan adopted the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law. It ensured that 27 per cent of the 250 seats in Afghanistan’s parliament were reserved for women. Education is currently open to women and female participation has seen highs of 65 per cent, with millions of girls in school and thousands at university. Girls accounted for 39 per cent of the country’s 9.5 million students last year. It is believed that roughly 22 per cent of the Afghan workforce is now female and women have taken positions of power in politics, the judiciary and the military. There are more than 200 female judges in Afghanistan and, as of April 2021, there were over 4,000 women in law enforcement.

Though spokespeople for the Taliban have insisted that women’s rights will be preserved, reports show that women have been sent home from their jobs and universities in cities that have fallen under Taliban control. One recent incident at Azizi Bank in the southern city of Kandahar saw Taliban gunmen escorting female employees from their jobs, telling them their male relatives could take their place.

An anonymous university student has written this weekend in The Guardian of devastating scenes in Kabul, where her fellow female students have been evacuated by police and were left unable to use public transport as drivers were too scared of Taliban reprisals if they were seen transporting a woman. She reports that her sister was forced to flee her government job and that she, currently completing her second degree, “will have to burn everything I achieved in 24 years of my life”.

Two-thirds of the population of Afghanistan are under the age of 30, which means most women have never before lived under Taliban control. Whilst a number of women wear the burqa out of choice, many will now face wearing it for the first time under mandatory requirements. Most have never known what it is like to be unable to study, work or leave the house unchaperoned. They now undoubtedly will. A photograph spreading across the internet today shows images of female models in the windows of a fashion retailer in Kabul being painted over. It is a poignant image of what may now begin to occur for all women in Afghanistan.

For women in Afghanistan, the Taliban takeover of the country puts their rights at stake, as well as their lives.

Across the world, women’s advocacy organizations are voicing their pleas to protect Afghan women and spreading the word about how to help.

Women for Women International, a nonprofit humanitarian organization that provides support to female survivors of war, tweeted that they are collecting donations to help women find safe places to meet and ways to stay connected. While doing so, the organization is also attempting to maintain the safety of its own team.

“We’re closely monitoring the situation unfolding in #Afghanistan. Our team is safe. They are very sad, but calm, and sheltering in place,” the organization said. “Whatever happens in the coming days, we hold true to the idea that women can and should help shape the future of Afghanistan. Our international community of supporters matters now more than ever.”

Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security is also spreading the word about how to donate.

The institute’s director, Melanne Verveer, co-authored an op-ed in The Washington Post calling on the US government to do more to protect Afghan women. She and her co-author, Tanya Henderson of Mina’s List, called on the US to charter direct evacuation flights for Afghan women activists and fund relocation efforts with money the Biden administration appropriated for Afghan refugees.

“It is a perilous moment for Afghan women and girls,” the institute wrote on its website. “Every day, the Taliban is gaining ground, assassinating women leaders, attacking girls at school, and rolling back women’s rights in the process. We are running out of time to prevent the worst from happening.

Afghan girls and women truly are in extreme danger. International organizations and governments should immediately condemn Taliban’s atrocious behavior on girls and women in Afghanistan.

Please save Afghan girls and women from the grips of the Taliban beasts.

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An internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, research-scholar, counter-terrorism specialist, and editor of Blitz. Follow his on Twitter Salah_Shoaib

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