Violence Toward Afghan Women Rises

There are many tragedies associated with the Bush era, but none may be more tragic than the lost opportunity to enable Afghan women to gain independence and the right to lead lives free from control by husbands and village elders. As the situation deteriorates, the Taliban frequently focus on women who want to attend school or engage in business activities. There has been a rash of acid attacks in which men on motor bikes zoom by girls walking home from school and spray their faces with acid. Afghan MP Shukria Barakzai almost daily receives threats because she has been an outspoken voice in support of women rights. “You can’t imagine what it feels like as a mother to leave the house each day and not know if you will come back again.” She has requested security assistance but none is forthcoming from the government.

There are several reports concerning talks between the Afghan government and Taliban leaders whose goal is obviously a coalition government. But, there is no guarantee that existing rights for women would be protected by such a coalition. Most probably, Afghan males would sell out women in return for some semblance of peace and law and order. Afghan women will wait anxiously to learn what are terms being demanded by the Taliban for an end to violence.