I know that the Taliban are forcing families to give their daughters as wives for their fighters

I Know That The Taliban Are Forcing Families To Give Their Daughters As Wives For Their Fighters

As cities across Afghanistan crumble, a young female journalist reveals her panic and anxiety of being forced into hiding.

She told the Guardian, “last week I was a news journalist. Today I can’t write under my own name or say where I am from or where I am. My whole life has been obliterated in just a few days.”

“I’m not safe because I’m a 22-year-old woman and I know that the Taliban are forcing families to give their daughters as wives for their fighters. I’m also not safe because I’m a news journalist and I know the Taliban will come looking for me and all of my colleagues.”

What is happening in Afghanistan?

Ever since US troops exited Afghanistan, the Taliban has been actively occupying territories in the country.

The Taliban gunmen go to the remote Afghan areas, they intimidate the villagers and ransacked local shops before demanding the names and ages of children and women they claimed would be picked up and married off to their young warriors.

According to inhabitants of Saighan district in Bamiyan province’s central highlands, militants beat some men who tried to resist and forced some residents to show them closets of clothing in order to determine the ages of the girls and women who resided there. Widows of those murdered fighting with the Afghan military against the insurgents were among the women whose names they took down.

Terrified women packed what they could, rented automobiles and goods carts, or just walked to avoid being kidnapped and forced into sex slavery by the Taliban, which according to them was their worst nightmare.

One jitter to ask what is the Fate of Women under Taliban?

Recently there was news of a young woman allegedly killed by the Taliban for wearing tight clothes and not being accompanied by a male relative in Afghanistan’s northern Balkh province. Prior to this, there has been a spate of occurrences where women are categorically told not to go out for work, or walk alone either during the day or night.

It seems like the return of the dark age in Afghanistan, especially for women.

Not long ago, between 1996-2001, Taliban was in power and its administration was defined by the cruel subjection of women, who were subjected to a variety of restrictions and punitive brutality. Before declaring its withdrawal, the United States failed to obtain any assurances from the Taliban regarding the safeguarding of basic human rights for all members of society, including women, which was one of the war’s key themes.

Heela Najibullah, an Afghan woman pursuing a PhD from the University of Zurich, told Peoples Dispatch that it is a known fact that the Taliban’s stance on women’s rights has not much altered from the 1990s. She also noted that during the talks with the US, the Taliban had refused to engage with women civil society groups directly and the US envoy had to act as a go-between. She wondered what would be the status of women and minorities in Afghanistan if the Taliban is allowed to govern as per its own interpretations of the Islamic sharia law, which are exclusive only to one particular section.

News of women being subjected to forced marriages, public whipping, and other horrors has begun to emerge from rural areas as the Taliban’s control has grown. Women have also been reported to be confined to their houses and forced to wear burqas. In certain areas, girls above the age of eight or twelve are being prohibited from going to schools.

What is the International community doing?

It’s clear that the Afghan’s government have collapsed and the Taliban has taken over. The only places that the government still controls are the airport and a few police district offices.

The Afghan government have called for action over the Taliban’s attacks on civilians, asking those nations involved in talks with the militants to insist on an immediate ceasefire and a genuine resumption of the peace process. The UN Security Council did convene a special meeting on the crisis on July 6 and 7. But nothing emerged to solve the problem.

Needless to say, women and children are under attack. According to the UN, civilian deaths are up by nearly 50% and more women and children were killed and wounded in Afghanistan in the first half of 2021 than in the first six months of any year since records began in 2009.

The problem is, the longer it takes for the international community to act, the further the Taliban will push into civilian areas, using people’s homes as staging posts for attacks and forcing children to act as human shields to protect them from airstrikes as they move around the hinterland, warns Ahmad Shuja Jamal, director of international affairs and regional cooperation at the Afghan National Security Council. The UN Security Council meeting should have been the time when condemnations gave way to action in the face of these atrocities, Jamal said.

What lies ahead?

Fear, trauma, loss of livelihood and an impossible dream of a peaceful Afganistan. Years of hard work of Afghan women and men have gone down the drain post-Taliban’s incursion. They gave two decades of their lives to create a civil society and opportunities for those who come after them. Today, all of it stands in ruins.

Women are hiding to save their dignity. It’s no longer about equal rights and opportunities, it’s about surviving, being alive.

And for the U.S. and its allies, they need to know that they have made martyrs of the very women and children they had promised to protect.

Featured image: Reuters

Written by Ruth Jane

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