ROME AND AMSTERDAM, Oct 05 (IPS) – The United States and its allies have repeatedly said they were one of the reasons for promoting women’s rights in Afghanistan. Top U.S. military officials said in a letter to the Marines that they were in Afghanistan “for the freedom of young Afghan girls, women, boys and men who want to enjoy the same unique freedoms as Americans.”
Post-war, women’s rights are now one of the conditions for improving relationships. For example, it is one of the conditions for the release of US 9 9 billion in Afghan assets. Similarly, the European Union has made women’s rights one of the conditions for engagement with the new Afghan government.
There is also a lot of talk in the Western media about how the new government is trampling on women’s rights – girls are not being allowed to go to school, working women are being told to stay at home, and women’s protests have been brutally suppressed. There is a lot of discussion about the fact that there are no women in the new government. The position of the US and its allies and the apparent insight of the Taliban suggest a long stalemate that will bring additional misery to ordinary Afghans.
However, a second narrative on women in Afghanistan is also emerging. The starting point of this alternative narrative is that the vast majority of Afghan women live in rural areas; And 20 years of war have seen their suffering multiplied. Bombings, assassinations, indiscriminate violence by militants, who were allied with U.S. forces, defined their daily existence. These rural women have seen the benefits of the efforts of donors and aid agencies to improve their living conditions, if any. Corruption has taken away a lot of money and what has been received in rural areas has not made significant improvements in public services such as health, education or water supply. For these women, the return of the Taliban means, above all, an end to violence and a return to the rule of law – no matter how flawed.
This alternative narrative also indicates that “those of us who enjoy the same unique freedoms as Americans” are a small minority living in Kabul. Moreover, the freedoms they had in the US occupation – wearing jeans, playing football or cricket – were alien to Afghan society and traditional theological values. Therefore losing such “rights” is quite irrelevant to many in the country.
The two narratives lead to different actions. For those who say first, it provides a moral leverage for the Taliban to use the potential leverage to restore their current positions on women’s rights, and many other aspects of government. In addition, it has suspended development projects, reduced humanitarian aid, and even confiscated Afghan resources – money that belongs to the Afghan people.
For those who found the second narrative more interesting, the end of the conflict and the withdrawal of foreign troops were the most important events for Afghanistan. From here, the Afghan people have to decide for themselves what social policies and traditions they want to follow.
And, if they want to change, it has to be at the speed and pace of their own choice. The international community, which is largely responsible for the misery and disaster of the last few decades, should focus on repairing and improving infrastructure such as roads and irrigation; Ensuring the supply of essential goods and services, including food, water, energy, health care and electricity; And building institutional structures and trained manpower to manage public services such as administration, justice and policing.
Both descriptions, as well as the actions derived from it, are flawed.
Whatever the geopolitical or economic interests, it is disrespectful to tell America and its allies for war that they have been in Afghanistan for 20 years to help Afghans and especially Afghan women. The war cost U.S. taxpayers ২ 2 trillion, most of which went to defense contracts, with some pieces of corrupt Afghan government officials. Given the average size of seven Afghan families, the war cost 2 2 trillion, equivalent to ,000 350,000 per family. Even a fraction of it, if properly invested, could change lives – but it never happened. Now, after 20 years of war, it seems heartless to impose more suffering on Afghans in the name of women’s rights. Particularly frightening is the fact that the country is in dire need of this money when it comes to confiscating Afghan assets in the West Bank.
License’s fair approach to the new government is, of course, equally cruel. Women’s right is not just to dress as they please, to participate in sports or to wear the burqa in public. It is also about giving the right to be educated; In any job or career they aspire to; To live without repression; And there is freedom to move, to think and to speak without fear or hindrance.
The fact that Afghan0% of Afghan girls do not have a school where they can go, the job they can aspire to, or the time, energy or money for sports or leisure, that 20% does not deny them their rights.
Countries with influence in Afghanistan – China, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and Turkey – must not turn a blind eye to women’s rights. On the contrary, the Afghan government should use all the opportunities it has to respect women’s rights, be it for those in Kabul, for those in the most remote areas.
Dawood Khan Acts as a consultant and advisor to various governments and international organizations. He holds degrees in economics from LSE and Oxford – where he was a Rhodes Scholar; And a degree in Environmental Management from the Imperial College of Science and Technology. He lives partly in Italy and partly in Pakistan.
Leela Yasmin Khan An independent writer and editor based in the Netherlands. He holds a master’s degree in philosophy and a bachelor’s degree in argumentation theory and rhetoric – both from the University of Amsterdam – as well as from the University of Rome (Roma Trey).
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© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal Source: Inter Press Service