On Sept. 27, 1996, the military wing of the Islamic Taliban Movement
forced out the elected and corrupt government of Afghanistan. This
marked a turning point in the decades long Afghan civil war. It also
marked the beginning of something far worse, a war by the Taliban
against the mothers, daughters and women of their country.
The Taliban claim to be “religious” students from the hinterlands of
Afghanistan. Many of them are young men who grew up in remote villages
that haven’t changed for 1,000 years. Their view of the “proper” role
for women in Afghan society has turned their country into a living hell
for girls and women.
According to Bob Herbert of the New York Times,
- A level of terror unimaginable to most Americans has been the
rule in most of Afghanistan since the Taliban took power a few years
ago. But the most consistently soul-crushing cruelties have been
reserved for women and girls. The Feminist Majority Foundation, which
has been trying to bring this aspect of the tragedy to greater public
awareness, calls it “gender apartheid.”
The Feminist Majority belittles the horrors of the Taliban by
its politically correct labeling. What is happening in Afghanistan is
much worse than gender apartheid. The Taliban is trying to destroy the
minds, spirits and souls of every woman in their troubled country.
Bob Herbert continues,
- Women and girls in areas controlled by the Taliban are not
permitted to go to school or to work. The windows of their homes must be
covered or painted black. They can leave their homes only in the company
of a close male relative, and only if they are completely covered by a
burqa, an all-encompassing garment with a small mesh opening through
which the wearer can see and breathe. Women violating any of the rules
can be beaten on the spot.
I first learned about the Taliban’s war against women in 1996.
I hoped that they would come to their senses and honor their mothers,
daughters and sisters. However, I was wrong.
The Taliban have lost touch with their humanity. They have adopted
one of the most hateful policies against girls and women that the world
has ever seen. Their policies violate everything that is decent.
Bob Herbert again:
- Medical care for women is largely a thing of the past. Male
doctors are not allowed to examine the female body. Women and girls are
dying in droves from untreated diseases.
Before the Taliban “revolution,” Afghanistan had women doctors
and nurses. Since the Taliban gained power, they kicked these trained
professionals out of their hospitals and medical clinics. They have
banned them from a life of helping others.
I have never been to Afghanistan, but I have worked in 25 countries
around the world. No country can escape poverty if they oppress their
women and girls. No country can be competitive in the 21st century if
they refuse to invest in and support the dreams and aspirations of their
girls and women.
Back to Bob Herbert:
- Widows especially lead gruesome existences. Unable to work, many
have been reduced to begging for food. Prostitution is reported to be
increasing. And rape, forced marriages, forced prostitution and other
forms of abuse have become commonplace. Resistance has been met with
savage beatings, mutilations, abductions and murder.
Men who have tried to help women or widows have been beaten on
the streets by marauding mobs of misogynists. They have attacked,
maimed and sometimes killed men whose crime was to try to feed widows
from the Afghan civil war.
The Taliban claims that they have rooted their war against women in
the Koran. They are wrong. Their war against mothers, sisters,
grandmothers and daughters is nothing more than the pure hatred of
women. Islam does not condone killing women just because they are
women, but that is exactly what the Taliban is doing. What the Taliban
is doing has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with
Do you love and respect your mother, daughter, sister and female
relatives? Do you care about your female friends? If so, you must care
about what the Taliban is doing to their sisters in Afghanistan.
America cannot go to war in every part of the world controlled by mad
men bent on destroying decent human beings. However, we can isolate
their economies from the civilized world.
Join me, and demand that Congress cut off all U.S. foreign assistance
to Afghanistan. Demand that Congress force Bill Clinton to freeze all
of Afghanistan’s bank accounts in the United States. Demand that our
government start a worldwide economic embargo against Afghanistan.
The butchers of Kabul are killing their mothers, sisters, daughters
and wives. Let’s make them pay the highest possible price for their
oppression of people whose only “crime” is to be born female.
If you love your mother, it’s the least you can do.