The invisible half

Published July 5, 2022

WHAT better illustrates the Afghan Taliban’s misogynistic and mediaeval worldview than the fact that not a single woman was invited to the three-day gathering in Kabul of over 3,500 clerics and ‘people of influence’ from around Afghanistan? As though to reinforce the irrelevance of women and the fact they are not considered individuals in their own right, the Taliban asserted that women would indeed be represented, but only by their fathers and sons. The meeting, where participants pledged allegiance to the Taliban and its reclusive leader Mullah Hibatullah, failed to address contentious issues such as allowing girls access to secondary education. No wonder that, on Sunday, Afghan women activists in self-exile denounced the Taliban as illegitimate rulers because their regime was endorsed by those who represented only half the nation.

The Afghan Taliban have proved they are no different from the earlier cohort that ruled much of Afghanistan from 1996 till 2001. The extreme manifestations of misogyny that marked that first, brutal regime are apparent this time around as well. One objective is to make women invisible by excising them from government jobs, closing off avenues of education to them and by ordering them to cover themselves up in all-encompassing burqas. Such steps, as well as the ban on women travelling alone by air or on inter-city routes by road, are calculated to strip them of their agency and financial independence. The effect that these repressive measures are having on their mental well-being can only be imagined. That the Taliban leader, when he spoke at last week’s gathering, issued a rebuke to those urging the hard-line regime to keep its word to the international community about respecting women’s rights, indicates a change in attitude is not on the cards. The only way out of this depressing situation may be for Muslim countries to continue to engage with the Taliban and impress upon them the long-term damage they are inflicting on their nation by trampling on the rights of half its population.

Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Pawn sacrifice
Updated 19 Aug, 2022

Pawn sacrifice

Concerns over torture allegedly perpetrated against Gill are valid and must be looked into forthwith.
Frozen conflict
19 Aug, 2022

Frozen conflict

THE recent discovery of the body of an Indian soldier lost in an ice storm on the Siachen glacier 38 years ago yet...
Deadly rains
19 Aug, 2022

Deadly rains

THERE seems to be no end to our monsoon misery. Deadly rains continue to lash several parts of the country,...
The fall guy
Updated 18 Aug, 2022

The fall guy

Maryam’s public distancing from Miftah over recent fuel price hike is quite uncalled for.
Never-ending scourge
18 Aug, 2022

Never-ending scourge

POLIO eradication efforts in the country appear to have suddenly taken a giant leap backwards. A day after...
Frozen Afghan funds
18 Aug, 2022

Frozen Afghan funds

WITH Afghanistan facing a humanitarian catastrophe and economic collapse, the American decision to not release ...