Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

Afghan Women Prove Their Abilities

As women’s rights and freedoms are debated at the negotiating table and the Taliban seek to curtail women’s liberties, Shamsia Alizada, a teenage girl who avoided a deadly attack on her tutoring center in 2018, achieved the highest score out of almost 200,000 students on the national university entrance exam. She lives in a poor family and her father is a coal miner.
Afghans widely celebrated on Facebook and called on the Taliban not to bar women from getting education. The photo of Shamsia, who missed many of her classmates in the deadly suicide attack, is shared on Facebook as she sheds tear of joy. Many Afghans have been emotional saying that 18-year-old Shamsia raised out of ashes without being deterred by the Taliban or ISIS group.
At the current sensitive time, scoring the first position by Shamsia indicates that women are as capable as men and both have to be given equal opportunity so that their abilities and capabilities are flourished and their skills honed. Within the last two decades, Afghan women made great strides in social, political, and educational sectors. They serve as ambassador, minister, deputy minister, MP, etc. They made their voice heard and played a highly constructive role as they worked should-to-shoulder with their male counterparts.
The abilities and capabilities of women are beyond doubt and if they are given equal platform similar to that of their male counterparts, they will bring about many positive changes in the society. Afghan women proved their bravery as they continued following their education as well as their social and political activities despite hurdles and challenges. Meanwhile, a number of Afghan women serve in police rank and security sectors in the wake of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and life-threatening issues.
It is self-explanatory that Afghan women suffered severely under the Taliban and during civil unrest. They were treated as pariahs and discriminated against in the wake of their gender. The Taliban closed girls’ schools and violated women’s rights and freedoms to a great extent. Women were viewed as inferior creature and treated unjustly.
But as the relative security emerged after the collapsed of the Taliban regime and the girls’ schools were opened, women made the best use of it. They proved their abilities and talents and played significant role for the improvement of the society.
It seems that the rights and freedoms of Afghan women are at stake if regional and global states do not put their weight behind this issue. Although the mindset of the Taliban leaders have been changed as they broadcast live the peace negotiations in Qatar, their fighters still practice the same ideology as they did in 1990s. Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Taliban’s minister of information and culture, bent himself down when he faced media in a press conference during their regime and asked to take down the cameras. But Mansour Haqqani broadcast live the intra-Afghan talks in Qatar. In spite of the changes in their mindset, Afghans are still concerned about the Taliban’s view regarding women’s rights and freedoms as the group’s negotiators lack clear stance vis-à-vis women and their social and political status.
Protection of women’s rights and freedoms, as stated in the Afghan Constitution, has been defined as “red-line” by the Afghan government and its negotiating team. The government negotiators have to stand by their commitment and do not backtrack despite any persistence by the Taliban side.
Both Afghan men and women watch the negotiations with hope and fear and called on government’s delegation to support the rights and liberties of women.
It should be noted that if women’s rights and liberties are compromised at the peace table, Afghans will never accept it. The Taliban should neither seek to impose their own mindset on the people of Afghanistan nor adopt an unclear attitude regarding women and their rights. Women are not inferior creature and their gender will not be a barrier to their progress or improvement. Women will play equal role as men for the development of the society. There are many girls and women as Shamsia in Afghanistan who continue their role despite the ongoing challenges and threats.
Gender discrimination has room neither in Afghan Constitution nor in religious tenets. Afghans will not backtrack and will stand by the rights and freedoms of women, which were gained at the cost of millions’ lives. Women also paid sacrifices and fell victims to terrorist attacks for achieving their rights. The government system should be selected based on the public will and referendum. Imposing system will not be acceptable to the public.