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On the frontline: women and children

By: Zahrah Nasir

During their years of occupation of Afghanistan, America has, repeatedly and at every single available opportunity, declared the urgent need for ‘women’s rights’ in a country where, be it inside or outside the home, women and girl children have traditionally had none.

Yet, naturally given the obscenely exploitative circumstances created by international interference in a country where they have no right to be, these self-same forces of global greed conveniently closed their mouths and their troops their eyes – when bombing, killing, maiming and otherwise murdering and rendering homeless those they so publicly declared must be saved at all – and any – cost.

Now though, having lost a war and further decimated a country and a people, who had already suffered more than enough, America is going all out – publicly now that formerly ‘secret’ negotiations are well and truly out of the closet – to reinstall the very ‘terrorists’ they raced headlong into Afghanistan to throw out which, no matter from what angle it is examined, is absolutely and disgustingly ludicrous in the extreme.

It is true to say that Afghanistan needs peace, especially so in the wake of American created mayhem that saw the installation of a shockingly corrupt puppet presidency in which warlords and drug-dealing criminals ruled the roost, but setting about enforcing the return of the ‘dreaded’ – certainly by women – Taliban is certainly no way to go about it.

Those with means, education and a measure of understanding of what the ‘armies of liberation’ intended to inflict as a retaliatory parting gesture, have, over the last year or two and even more so during the last six months, desperately been seeking ways and means of getting out before everything hits the fan – again.

And, knowing full well that females will immediately face serious problems and a possible return to the medieval madness some have already endured once, women who have come to value whatever lives they have been able to carve out for themselves, are already on the run.

Widows, these, as a direct result of over 30 years of continuous warfare in one guise or another, are numerous and already find it extremely difficult to survive in a society where, aside from in a few agricultural regions, they are relatively new members of an earning workforce.

Underpaid and overworked as they often are, these women currently have the dignity of being able to, if they work damn hard, earn enough to support their families and pay for some kind of roof over their collective heads. But the return of the Taliban will delete all of this. And what the hell are these widows supposed to do then?

Even packing up their meagre possessions, picking up their children and attempting to flee to Pakistan – a country that no longer welcomes Afghan refugees – is way beyond the means of most.

Young women, those who were children during the previous Taliban rule, who have since emerged and fought tooth and nail against accepted Afghan tradition and progressed, some of them working part-time to pay costs, through school and college to university and good jobs and who have become used to certain measures of freedom – a freedom that would not be considered much at all by American or even by general global standards – will be first up against the bloody wall of intolerance and subjugation and yet, this is a terrible truth, not a single government, American or otherwise, has so far seen fit to express even a modicum of concern about the inevitable fate of female Afghans quite irrespective of their ethnicity which is, given that ethnic Hazaras for example have, until recently, been treated as slaves, a sickening state of affairs indeed.

It is also pertinent to point out – and this is extremely sad – that the vast majority of expatriate Afghans, scattered around the world as they are and a huge percentage of them not having set foot in their ancestral land for many, many years if ever at all, are going all-out gung-ho in lauding this latest American betrayal that will, if it brings anything at all, most definitely not result in any acceptable, to the indigenous Afghan majority, form of that sought of grail so lovingly referred to as ‘peace’.

The writer has authored a book titled “The Gun Tree: One Woman’s War” and lives in Bhurban.

The Nation

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