The global community must not desert Afghanistan


Erin Choi, Reporter

Your heart pounds furiously as you hear several harsh knocks on the door. You knew they were right outside, pressuring your mother to cook for them once again. Your mother refused multiple times, but they were back. The door helplessly swings open, and you scream as the Taliban charge in your house, grabbing hold of your mother as they begin to beat her. You yell and cry at them to stop, but your words are powerless. 


This is the reality that women in Afghanistan are currently facing. It is harsh, brutal, and merciless. At this rate, only the support and interference of the international community can bring light back to the dark futures of Afghan women. 


Taliban insurgents seized control of Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul right after President Ghani joined an exodus on Aug. 15, marking the end of the democratic government the U.S. has attempted to implement for two decades. Prior to the U.S. invasion in 2001, the fundamentalist organization ruled Afghanistan for five years. During this relatively short period of time, the Taliban denied educational and working rights for women, and violent public executions including stoning, lashing, and chopping off the hands of women were committed. 


However, in the past two decades under American influence, Afghanistan women have been more successful in progressing with women rights. Establishments such as the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, a landmark law addressing violence against women, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women have been founded. Nevertheless, with the victory of the Taliban causing international embassies to withdraw their support, such organizations and civil groups are left more vulnerable than ever. 


It is true that Taliban leaders have reassured gentler rhetoric on how women will be treated. The Taliban has been taking advantage of their social media platform to promote a peaceful and inclusive image. Thus, it could be argued that the international community should refrain from interfering, and let the Taliban freely practice its new rhetoric. 


However, what had been expressed on social platforms have greatly contradicted what was conducted on ground. Already, the radical Islamic body is undoing the changes that were made to pursue the rights and equality of women. The U.S. Girls’ schools are shut down as female students are prohibited from further pursuing their careers. Women are prevented from accessing the public sphere and are only permitted to leave the house if they are escorted by a male counterpart. Even worse, women have to fully be covered with a burqa, as women can be stopped for exposed skin and may be subject to physical harm. 


The Taliban justice system is further concerning as they can exercise a stronger grip on how it wishes to inaugurate and interpret laws due to the international community’s retreat. With even the justice system unable to serve the equity and protection it is supposed to ensure, the fate of Afghan women and their rights becomes vague once again.  


Leaving the Taliban to rule Afghanistan will only provide the former with more power and flexibility to abuse women’s rights. As the Taliban appears to make minute to no changes in its treatment towards women, it is of paramount importance that the international community provides its support. It appears as though only the influence of the international community can help to veer Afghanistan away from extremism and towards democratic ideals once again, thus successfully protecting the rights of Afghan women.