Afghanistan and Equality: Women not Warlords

Women’s exclusion was never more visible than under the Taliban, whose defeat made it possible to do away with the veil. But does progress extend to a real say in the life of the nation? And is the international community doing enough for the disadvantaged majority?

The World Today
3 minute READ

Lara Griffith

Organization for Security and Co-operation on Europe, focused on civil society development and women's rights

Events in Afghanistan have a way of changing the world – it has played unfortunate host to battles between opposing value systems and powers. Now there is a more benign development.

For the first time, but only after the most violent discrimination against women the modern world has known, women’s rights figure in talk of reconstruction. So they should – the exclusion and subjugation of women was not incidental to the destruction. Indeed, it fuelled the cycles of violence as forces for moderation were extinguished.

Violence against women increases after conflict. Economic and social disadvantages are compounded, social protection collapses, politics is polarised and violent economies are criminalised. Women in Afghanistan face all this, plus the legacy of a government that turned what was left of the state against them. Trauma, exclusion from health care and education must all be dealt with.

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