We’re about to see a Taliban rehabilitation program-you know, they aren’t so bad, they were doing it just for the meager income, they were trying to help the poor, that sort of thing-aimed at an attempt to show that, hey, the enemy isn’t so bad.
“Bombs that slaughter civilians, acid attacks that disfigure school girls, assassinations of women in public life-all of this will be swept under the carpet,” Rachel Reid writes in today’s Wall Street Journal. Another issue that’s going to be swept under the carpet (possibly with the silence of Western women who call themselves feminists): the treatment of women in Afghanistan.
Reid, the Afghanistan researcher for Human Rights Watch, writes:
When 22-year-old Hossai received … threats by phone from a man saying he was with the Taliban in Kandahar, she refused to be bullied. She loved her job at the American development company DAI, and her salary supported her family. But one day in April Hossai was shot by an unknown gunman as she left her office. She died from her wounds.
A few days later another woman in Kandahar received a night letter. It demanded that she give up her job, or else she “will be considered an enemy of Islam and will be killed. In the same way that yesterday we have killed Hossai, whose name was on our list.” This woman has since stayed home.
These stories are seldom heard, but it’s not because they are rare. The victims are often too terrified to report such attacks to the authorities, or have little hope that anything will be done if they do. They can expect little or no protection from their government, which seems more willing to provide patronage to senior insurgents who switch sides than assist women at grave risk. When high-profile women are assassinated, their cases are not given the priority they deserve and their killers are rarely brought to justice. While men who run afoul of the Taliban are also attacked-particularly in Kandahar, where the murder rate in recent months has reached unprecedented heights-the situation for women is worse.
Reid urges us not to abandon the women of Afghanistan-we’re footing much of the cost of of creating a new Afghan nation. Let’s insist that it’s a nation in which both halves of the population have rights.