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The Plight of Women in Afghanistan

The Plight of women in Afghanistan

The Taliban rulers of Afghanistan implemented a ban on higher education for women. In a country whose 97 percent of the population is in poverty, 20 million suffer from acute hunger, and two-thirds need humanitarian assistance, this ban brings it to its knees. Banning women from NGOs deprives them and their children of life-saving services.

All larger aid agencies have suspended their operations in Afghanistan, and the United Nations has paused “time-critical” programs following this decision. This decision of the Taliban has been regarded as “reckless and dangerous.” The United Nations has urged the Taliban to reverse this ban and be fair to their country’s women.

Initially, when the Taliban came to power back in August 2021, they presented a version of Taliban 2.0 that promised to essentially focus on not being cruel and harsh like their predecessors. However, that certainly has not been the case. Last month, there was a public execution, and numerous public floggings have also been reported. All the promises of being different from their predecessors back in the 1990s regime have not been fulfilled.

The women of Afghanistan are in deplorable conditions, and their circumstances keep getting worse under this version of the Taliban. Most of these women are the sole breadwinners of their families, and this ban on education and public spaces will end up starving entire families.

One of the prime goals since their seizing power in 2021 has been to gain international recognition. However, these decisions are the opposite of what they promised the global world and the people of Afghanistan. The country is already on the brink of devastating destruction, and these bans are pushing it into isolation from the rest of the international community. In this time and age, a country cannot remain isolated and survive.

Videos of girls crying and shaking with anger over this decision have been circulating over social media platforms. Women make up half of the country's population, and depriving them of these fundamental human rights is condemnable on all levels of humanity.

The supreme leader of the Taliban, Mullah Habibullah Akhundzada’s version of an Islamic society is twisted and largely unfair. This is not an Islamic society and point of view. Akhundzada believes women being confined in households and deprived of these fundamental human rights is the way to go. However, that is not the case; confining half the population in their homes is primitive.

The teenage girls in Afghanistan have been absent from school for over a year and a half now. The Taliban had been dragging their feet over reversing this ban on girls’ education by giving vague statements like them deciding girls’ curriculums and uniforms. But at least the women were going to universities, albeit under strict conditions regarding their appearances. It is apparent the Taliban did not intend to reverse this ban at all and condemned the women of Afghanistan from getting any education.

The international community has condemned this decision collectively. World leaders have warned the Taliban that these bans and decisions will isolate Afghanistan from the global world. According to the United States, this is an indefensible decision to keep women from getting a higher education, have no public spaces, and confine them to their homes. The situation is horrific and devastating in the state, with women unable to exercise fundamental human rights.

This decision has been resisted by more significant swathes of Afghan society, including the clerics that have advised the Taliban to reverse this decision as soon as possible otherwise, they risk being isolated from the international world.

The United Nations and the rest of the international community showed “deep concern” over this decision. According to the Secretary general’s deputy special representative for Afghanistan, Ramiz Alakbarov, “a door closed to women’s education is a door closed to the future of Afghanistan.”

This decision needs to be reversed soon. Otherwise, the already deteriorating situation of the country will get even worse. Afghanistan will further plunge into the darkness.

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