Talibanning Women’s Rights: The Eternal Struggle
Before the Taliban, a militant group that governed according to a strict sharia law, ruled Afghanistan in 1996, women were gaining rights and access to things they had never before hoped or imagined for. Once the Taliban came to power, all of the progress that they had made in the years past spiraled backwards and women had no rights throughout the entire country. The Taliban stood by a strict form of the Sharia, or Islamic, law. The Taliban interpreted this form of government in a way that provided no rights for women. After the Taliban gained control of the capital, Kabul, in 1996, women throughout all areas of the country had restrictions on what they could and could not do. Women and girls were not allowed to be educated or employed; they had to wear burkahs, full-body coverings that left only a small mesh-covered opening for the eyes, and they were not allowed to leave their homes without the accompaniment of a close male relative, among many more rules and restrictions. After the United States invasion of Afghanistan and the fall of the Taliban in 2001, women in Kabul gained back a few rights, such as education and employment, but elsewhere in other cities and in the countryside, life is not so good. Because warlords now rule the land of the country outside of the capital, conditions today are scarily similar for women as to what they were when the Taliban ruled the country, and something needs to be done for the rights of women all over Afghanistan. This is easier said than done, however. It is an extremely hard problem to grasp, let alone solve. In 2010, the United States began attempting to implement a ten-year action plan to improve conditions for women in Afghanistan. This includes reforms that will improve women and girls’ access to education, work, healthcare, government and many more benefits. This will take a long time to come into action, however. Lack of women’s rights in Afghanistan is such a large, complex and widespread problem that tackling it will take an immense amount of cooperation from the Afghan government. The only way to start tackling the problem is by doing it little by little. Right now, the best thing to do would be to provide moral, political and logistical support to women's groups and spread awareness about the topic. According to N Lukanovich, Afghanistan has a rich history of the rights of women. In ancient times, women had very few rights. Women were viewed as property by their husbands and male family members, they could not be educated or employed, and they had to be silent and veiled at all times. The first reforms came for women in the 1880s when Amir Abdur Rahman became the ruler of Afghanistan. He loosened the laws for marriage, raised the marriage age and even allowed women to divorce in special circumstances. The reforms continued from 1901 to 1919 when Amir Habibullah Khan was the ruling monarch. His wives were seen in public unveiled and wearing western clothing. Because of his progressive ideas, Habibullah was assassinated in 1919 by mullahs who believed in sacred Islamic Law. After Habibullah’s death, his son King Amanullah took the throne. The time during which he ruled Afghanistan was a period of modernization for the country. Women were allowed to choose not to wear the veil and they were encouraged to go to school. During the twenties, Amanullah made even more reforms such as raising the marriage age for girls, and banning polygamy. In 1928, traditionalists were infuriated by these reforms and a group of tribal leaders put enough pressure on Amanullah that he was forced to reverse the reforms. The veil became mandatory, women could not cut their hair or attend school and mullahs were given total control. The King was put under so much pressure that he was forced to abdicate the throne in 1929. After Amanullah, no monarch was brave enough to implement any reforms for women. In the 1950s when Afghanistan was a...
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