Uncertainty Looms Over Women’s Future In Afghanistan

Uncertainty shrouded the future of Afghanistan’s women as despite the Taliban assuring that they would respect women’s rights and freedom, there have been several incidents of violence against them.

Moreover, the Taliban’s long history of violence and cruelty against women is testimony to the recent incidents of cruelty undertaken by the group that portrays a messy future of women in Afghanistan, a media report said.

The Taliban had vowed to respect women rights in press briefings in an attempt to gain legitimacy, but their words don’t match their deeds as recent incidents and announcements by the Taliban are against the women’s freedom.

A day before capturing Kabul, the Taliban made the announcement on women’s rights, advertisements and billboards in the city of Kabul depicting women wearing wedding dresses were being taken down and painted after the Taliban fighters entered the city The Times of Israel reported on Monday.

There have been various anti-women incidents in Afghanistan. Only some of them have appeared in public. Some incidents are outlined below:

Recently, visuals appeared showing a man using a roller and white paint to cover up these large images outside a building in Afghanistan.

Earlier in July, in a letter, the Taliban’s cultural commission ordered, “All imams and mullahs in captured areas should provide the Taliban with a list of girls above 15 and widows under 45 to be married to Taliban fighters.”

When the Taliban captured districts of Takhar province in July it ordered women to not leave and set dowry regulations for girls.

In a video clip that emerged on the internet, a woman being subjected to 40 lashes by the Taliban Court in the Haftgola area located near the Obe district of Herat province. The Taliban accused her of “immoral relations” as she spoke on the phone with a young man.

Such incidents indicate that the Taliban’s announcement for respecting rights are not followed by their deeds.

Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission in a report titled “Report on Violence against Women in Afghanistan recorded a total of 3477 cases of violence against women in the first ten months of 2020. The report included cases of murder, rape, abduction, and suicide which amount to a total of 281 cases. Out of all 281 cases of violence against women, 167 of them are of murder. These murder cases are mostly “honour killings”.

Most Afghani men do believe that women are inferior to them and have no right to freedom. War and militant attacks have added more fuel to the fire and resulted in the surge of violence against women in Afghanistan. Now, it has become an accepted way of life in the country.

However, the Taliban are a way ahead as they vocalise the prevalent anti-women mindset and advocate harsh and extreme measures to curb women’s lives in Afghanistan.

The measure factors behind such miserable situation of women in Afghanistan are illiteracy, a culture of impunity, failure to deal decisively with perpetrators, perceptions that violence against women is ‘normal’, ignorance and lower level of public consciousness, traditional patterns of marriage, corruption and abuse of state positions, women’s limited access to justice, the absence of security, and the fragility of authority to deal with such crime and violence, according to The Time of Israel.

Afghanistan’s social structure is ruined completely due to the continued chaos and warfare since the late 1970s. It was earlier a multicultural region with a history of trade and intermingling of people belonging to different tribes, races and ethnicities. However, the intervention of the Taliban deteriorated the sociocultural fabric. It has now become backward, patriarchal and essentially regressive.

In the name of faith, religious and sectarian differences, people were repeatedly harassed and killed. Now, women lack confidence and voice to participate in the political and economic mainstream of Afghanistan as social taming is deeply rooted in them.

In 2020, nearly 1,146 women casualties (390 killed and 756 injured) were recorded, according to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

UNAMA has also documented deliberate killing and acts of cruel,

inhuman incidents or humiliating punishments to women by the Taliban.

The report included two such examples.

In the first, on the accusation of having a relationship outside marriage, the Taliban killed a 28-year-old woman. She was shot in front of her three children in her house in the north of Afghanistan.

In another incident, the Taliban’s so-called Vice and Virtue Department’s head beat two women in their twenties with a cable in the marketplace as they were roaming outside without any male guardian. The incident happened in a district of a northern province.

Such incidents portray that gender-based violence against women in Afghanistan is a widespread reality under the Taliban.

Afghan women are surrounded by a multitude of daily threats that include beating, insurgency, lashing, rape, honour killing, suicide and forced immolation, giving away of girls in marriage to resolve disputes, enforced prostitution and many others. The Allied Forces had brought major changes in connection with the democratic government in Afghanistan. It included the realm of women’s rights.

A whole generation of women for the last 20 years had access to education, had jobs, could interact freely with members of the other sex and could be socially, politically and economically independent. But all that has changed now, The Times of Israel said.

The Taliban’s recent incidents of anti-women activities and their long history of violence and cruel acts against women show probably a grim and ghastly future of women in Afghanistan. (ANI)

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