Afghanistan: Female MP – Beginning of Taliban Dark Period for Women: Kharzai Embraces Taliban – Abandons Women

The U.S. Military moved into remote areas of Afghanistan to be a comfort to the people, to keep them free from the Taliban and to gain their trust, their hearts and minds. Female Marines wore headscarves to show Afghan women their respect while they tried to teach them how to create small businesses (bazaars and such) to help support their families. After last weekend’s rogue soldier killing 16 in the village only steps away from the NATO/Afghan outpost, Kharzai is demanding that NATO troops move back to larger bases, away from villages. Today, the Taliban has “suspended” “peace talks” with the U.S. – a very good thing for Afghan women if it were to continue, but with the full backing of Barack Obama for a co-existance with Taliban, it won’t last long. The recent Ulema Council statement that Afghan women are “secondary” to men, who are “fundamental” women are concerned, was a “reminder” of the proper way a woman should and will behave, or else. MP Fawzia Koofi says this is the beginning of a “Taliban Dark Period” and “a process of Talibanisation,” and says great progress has been made for women in the last 10 years (the time period that the U.S. has had presence there). President Hamid Karzai published the Council’s statement on his website, saying it was intended to protect women.

Campaigners believe the timing of the statement is no co-incidence. They say it is part of the president’s outreach to the Taliban.

In the push to do a peace deal with the insurgents, they fear the Afghan leader may be willing to sacrifice women’s rights.

“It does look like President Karzai is trying to placate the Taliban as part of the negotiations,” said Heather Barr, of Human Rights Watch.

“It looks like they are trying to show the Taliban there is no huge cultural gap between them.”

Women could be the big losers in any deal with the insurgents, according to Fawzia Koofi. She warns that the progress made in recent years – at huge cost to the international community – could soon be rolled back.

“We have struggled for 10 years,” she said. “We have gained so much. This is the beginning of compromising some of those gains that cost us and the international community blood and treasure.”…

The council’s statement is the beginning of “a process of Talibanisation” according to Fawzia Koofi.

“They have started taking some of those basic rights,” she said, “like working together, living together, going out like a free human being. I am worried for my daughters and for all the girls and women of Afghanistan.”

The MP believes the president, and the clerics, may be testing the water with this statement – waiting to see if there is a domestic or international backlash.

She warns that if there is no resistance, there may be worse to come. Source: BBC

Hamid Karzai’s statement said Ulema’s proclamation protects Afghan women:

The council statement renounces the equality of men and women enshrined in the Afghan Constitution and insists instead that “men are fundamental and women are secondary.”

The clerics also supported men’s right to commit violence against women in cases where there is a “Shari’a-compliant reason.”

But other sections of the document defend women’s rights, notably speaking out against forced marriages and the practice of exchanging women as a kind of currency to settle family and tribal disputes.

Overall, however, the statement calls for restrictions that are reminiscent of the Taliban era.

Afghan rights activists have condemned the statement and said they fear the Afghan government is giving in to the Taliban as Kabul tries to reach a peace settlement aimed at ending its decade-long battle with the insurgents.

Under the Taliban, women were barred from receiving an education and working outside the home and could only venture outside if they were wearing a burqa and were accompanied by a male relative.

Ahmad Zia Langari, a commissioner at Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission, claimed the council’s statement is an injustice that tramples on the dignity of all Afghan women.

“In no Islamic country do we see that women are totally separated from men and cannot work in the same workplace,” she said. “Even in Saudi Arabia these kinds of limitations don’t exist. Logically, if we suppress women this much — controlling their movement, conversations, and relations with others — then we are actually damaging women’s dignity as human beings.” …

In Germany, Heiner Geissler, a senior politician from the ruling Christian Democratic Union party, warned that Afghan women will suffer when foreign forces withdraw. Geissler said foreign forces should remain in Afghanistan until Afghan police and soldiers are fully prepared to assume responsibility for protecting the rights of all Afghans.

The independent newspaper “Cheragh” said on March 6 that the Ulema Council’s statement was “a reminder of dark pages in the history of Afghanistan when terrorists misused the tools of high Islamic education.”

The “Daily Afghanistan” newspaper wrote that the many promises made to women about equal rights seem to have been forgotten and that Afghanistan’s women seem doomed to become “second-class citizens” as they were under the Taliban. Source: Eurasianet

In July 2011, about two dozen Afghan women took to the streets in high heels and head scarves with signs reading “this street belongs to me” and “We won’t stand insults anymore.” Some men marched with them. I’m wondering how many of these women are still alive today.
  • David

    I think the real teachable moment to everyone directly involved in Afghanistan and those watching from the bleachers is the realization that true individual freedom is a rare miracle indeed. As the Afghans and others around the world for thousands of years will testify, individual freedom is but a hopeless dream without a collective will to fight for it and in many cases die for it. And even then there is no guarantee of when that freedom will come.
    But specifically for America the lesson we can learn from Afghanistan is to respect the process for freedom. This unfortunately includes innumerable sacrifices along the way. Our nation has made a difference in that place just by our willingness to endure, help, train and to fight and die for the Afghans. Yes our inalienable rights that we so freely squander for one reason or another come from God but they’re of course preserved by the people who are willing to fight to keep them. The USA has enabled freedom in many places in the world. Some of us wish we could ensure lasting freedom to all the good people of God’s beautiful earth, but we all know this is too great a task to do alone.
    Can I ask a simple question? What if the individual freedom that is enumerated in our Constitution is lost? What happens to the rest of the world who are trying and hoping to overcome tyranny and oppression, religious and political persecution and all of the other miseries if our own nation falls? As we know, the balance is delicate and must be handled carefully and deliberately. Aside from planting an American Flag and claiming Afghanistan as the 51st state there is only so much we can do for them. In the meantime, while we do have U.S. troops on the ground there, they deserve every bit of respect and support that is possible to give. The morale of our fighting forces is of the utmost importance for any victory. Troop morale ought not be negotiable or used for political leverage as is all too often the case.
    It’s a historical fact that we won our independence and freedom from Britain with the help of France. We have helped Afghanistan thousands of times more than the French had helped us and still little has changed within their borders.

    • Hi David, I agree that freedom in this country is a blessing and a miracle that we have kept it as long as we have. At this point, I believe we have done all we can do. We cannot save the women and children from the men, and we cannot save the men from the men. In countries following the Koran, we should have learned in these long ten years, that we will not change the hearts and minds of the men, and in these countries, and women can’t change their minds either.

      I support our troops. I honor them. I pray that once they come home, we NEVER go into another Muslim country UNLESS there is a threat to this country’s well-being.

    • David, to your question about what happens if America’s Constitutional bearing is lost to the world. The lights go out in my opinion.

  • David

    Exactly right. There’s been some cultural shifting away from God in America and it’s being pushed in every aspect of what we do, including in our military actions. What is not even considered by many of these leftist God-less people is that these Muslim nations where we have military actions do have a religious faith that does guide their actions.

    Imagine for example during our civil war in the early 1860s? Muslim armies from several Islamic nations descend upon our nation to fight with either the North or the South? Would these Muslim fighters have been able to persuade either side to give up their cause? Would their presence have been able to ensure peace? If if they gave $$ Millions or $$ Billions to help one side fight would that have enabled peace? If they had bombed and killed 100,000 Americans on one side or the other over 10 years or more would that have been able to ensure peace in America and end the civil war?

    The very idea that America or any other Western (non Muslim) nation could win the hearts and minds of any Islamic nation, let alone a radically corrupt Islamic nation, is just plain naive to say the least. Israel has well over 1 million Muslim Arabic citizens. Does Israel have peace with itself and with its neighbors? Regardless of how much anyone is willing to tolerate, concede, compromise or give, for real and true peace to exist there is only one way, surrender. One side must surrender absolutely to the other side in order to have real “peace”.

    We can help people from time to time with difficulties with their murderous dictators or warlords or natural disasters but we can never ever make “peace” anywhere where the very people we are trying to free are bound by a culture or religion that is diametrically opposed to ours. No amount of blood or money will ever bridge that gap. At best we can train them to pretend to bend to our will but it’s not genuine and as soon as the incentive for that patronizing stops they will almost immediately revert back their longstanding cultural history. Not only that but they will by then have so much of our weaponry, technology and money that they could be a stronger enemy in the future.

    We must choose our battles carefully and have realistic goals. We must protect our nation and preserve our culture above and beyond everything else. This is especially true within our own borders.

    Maggie your continual support of our troops and of America itself is the reason I’m a faithful supporter of Maggie’s Notebook. We need about 100,000,000 more Maggie’s Notebooks out there to keep up this support.

    • David, I believe we could have easily won the hearts and minds of the women and children, but they have to live with the men. So it’s impossible. I absolutely agree that we must choose our battles carefully and with the interest of America at the heart of every decision.

      David, thank you so very much for the lovely comment. It means a lot to me. I appreciate your reading and taking the time to comment and add to the conversation.

  • Amers