It had to send chills down the spine of any woman in America this weekend who read the following: “Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education said in a letter, leaked to the media on Wednesday, that female students over the age of 12 would no longer be allowed to sing in public ceremonies unless the event in question was all-female. It also said that the female students would not be taught by male music teachers.”
I probably overexaggerate when I apply this to “any woman in America.” I realize that it was in December 2001 that America invaded Afghanistan and drove the group then running it, the Taliban, out of control. It has been almost twenty years since that happened. That would limit the number of women in America who would have had ongoing knowledge of the brutality of the Taliban toward women. I assume a number who studied history of Afghanistan would have that knowledge but that would probably be very few. I figure also that those who studied something about Afghanistan and America’s involvement may very well come away with the idea the the United States invaded it only because it sheltered the Wahhabi terrorist group Al-Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden and refused our demands for their surrender and learn little about the Taliban treatment of women.
The Taliban banned women from going to school or studying, from working, from leaving the house without a male chaperone, from showing their skin in public. from accessing healthcare delivered by men (with women forbidden from working, healthcare was virtually inaccessible) and from being involved in politics or speaking publicly. Flogging was the punishment for violations. One woman with fingernail polish had the tip of her finger cut off and her father shot. Music was banned.
Ghazi Stadium a football (soccer) was used for public executions of women usually over adultery. Crowds filled the stadium as the Taliban carried out the executions. Recently a video of Taliban justice showed a woman, sitting on the ground in a burqa, is shot in the back of the head. Last year, a young woman was stoned to death in Ghor province in central Afghanistan after being accused of adultery. In August 2011, a woman and a man she had eloped with were stoned to death in the district of Dashte Archi in Kunduz province.
When the ban on girls singing was announced one woman wrote: “I feel the Taliban are making a comeback”. It was noted: “During the Taliban regime between 1996 and 2001, singing and listening to music and writing poems or songs were strictly banned by the armed group. Since the overthrow of the Taliban in an invasion by US-led forces, Afghan women have gained a number of rights that they are worried will now be eroded as the Afghan government tries to negotiate a peace agreement with the armed group, which has fought the government and foreign forces for 20 years.”
The idea that peace can be made with the Taliban is foolhardy. I agree with former Afghanistan ambassador Ryan Crocker who equates any deal with the Taliban to the deal we made to end the Vietnam war which was in effect a total surrender. Crocker notes: “The Taliban will offer any number of commitments, knowing that when we are gone and the Taliban is back, we will have no means of enforcing any of them.”
Why are we giving up? Why are we cutting and running by allowing the Taliban back into the government. It will not protect our national security interests (Al Qaeda still operates there) nor will we be “defending core values, such as women’s rights, that we have fostered there since 2001.”
The United States must ensure that a generation of women are not thrown back into the Taliban prison. Leaving Afghanistan because the prior administration with its “America First” philosophy which cared less about women in Afghanistan and which sought to diminish America’s footprint for good in the world is foolhardy.
America’s male leadership is intent on surrendering and running. Women of America and throughout the free world must not let that happen. They must recognize they are the only ones who can save generations of women in Afghanistan.