Afghanistan's Forsaken Women
Of all the tragedies witnessed so far this decade, none may be worse than the one now facing the 19 million women in Afghanistan. If the country's Taliban regime is serious about fostering economic development, it must uphold its promise to respect women's rights.
NEW HAVEN – Owing to the pandemic and other calamities, many referred to 2020 as a “biblical year.” Now, however, it is starting to look like we are in a “biblical decade.” Between the floods in Western Europe, the wildfires in Greece and Turkey, and the Delta and Mu variants of COVID-19, our planet and traditional way of life are coming increasingly under pressure.
Yet nothing this year can compare to the tragedy that is being visited upon Afghanistan’s 19 million women. While those of us in advanced economies contemplate the excesses of our modern society, Afghan women face an acute threat of being plunged back into the dark ages.
The international media has duly highlighted the risks, with many outlets reminding us of the oppression that women suffered under Taliban rule between 1996 and 2001. The Taliban have responded with reassurances that women’s rights – especially their rights to work and receive an education – will be respected as long as they are consistent with the values of an Islamic society under Sharia law. The next few months will show whether this promise will be kept.