A political decision yet to be taken seriously!
It is really a nightmare for almost all Afghan women to think of another repetition of the past bitter three year war history at this time in Afghanistan.
Imagine, if women are again imprisoned inside their houses with no human rights being considered!
Imagine if women are always kept inside the private spheres and are not allowed to at least get education!
Imagine if a woman goes outside, she has to cover up her whole body and face according to the radical idea of the Taliban!
Imagine if women see their husbands, sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers, die in front of them due to the bomb blasts!
Will this nightmare occur in reality? It had never come up in my mind until I heard the evacuation of the foreign forces, (even if it might be better off for Afghans in some way or another), and the attempts of the Afghan government to create friendly relationships with the Taliban and give them a part in the government. However it has almost been decided but was a part of the power of decision making in the hands of women? Were women aware of this decision previously? Did the government ever try to first think about these ‘nightmares’, basically the fear women have of the Taliban, and then decide?
All foreign forces will be evacuated from Afghanistan in a gradual sequence starting July 2011 to 2014. Their aim is to firstly make the Taliban as much weak as possible, and then step back and leave them in the hands of the national army in Afghanistan who will have been trained during this gradual evacuation period. In fact, it is important to say that this decision has been supported both internationally and nationally. A major international conference was held in Kabul, which approved the decision and showed their complete support for the transition of security system fully in the hands of the Afghan national army by 2014.
However if we look at the 2010 onwards’ security situation, we would then realize that this period of time has had a high violent situation, especially the 2010 June was one of the deadliest. A great example to that could be the recent event happened on 25th April 2011. 470 prisoners escaped from a prison through a 1,180ft long tunnel which had taken five months to be built according to the Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid in southern Afghanistan, Kandahar province. It is said that the majority of the prisoners were Taliban members who had been caught for various crimes and offences. This great work of Taliban, managing a escape from a prison which was government owned and was controlled by both the foreign as well as national troops, plus the rise in the violent actions inside Afghanistan does indicate for the challenges the ‘foreign troops evacuation’ decision faces nowadays. As the Afghan presidential spokesman Waheed Omar said, “A prison break of this magnitude, of course, points to a vulnerability." It does indeed show how even in the existence of the foreign troops, the national army and the government is easily vulnerable to the attacks, violent acts, and operations of Taliban. Besides it also shows the untrustworthiness of some of the ‘men’ working in the government. From the points Zabiullah Mujahid , the Taliban spokesman, said, they had some ‘friends’ in the prison who helped them open the doors of the prison, as well they had some trained engineers who advised them in the digging process, it becomes clear that ‘trust’ and ‘honesty’ is still a big challenge for the Afghan government in order to deal with its civil conflicts. If the government is unaware of the people’s negative goals who are working in the government, how would it be able to communally try to improve the situation of the country and stay undefeated and harsh against the Taliban?
The police officer whom I interviewed in my earlier article, Acid Attack: An attempt to stop female education, told that because the security situation overall was very bad and needed lots of attention, the extreme issues women were facing were almost lost in the acts of the government in trying to maintain the security of the country. The case is similar in here as well. The government without thinking about how will have the ‘half-part’ of the population, women, been affected by this decision, has already decided. Yet there is some more threat to be shown to this particular decision and its uprising opposition. The Taliban in fact in trying to show that the government will not be able to cope with them alone or defeat them completely by 2014, started to increase their violent actions in the country and planned to conduct some more bomb blasts within the country. "They want to demonstrate their relevance to regain momentum," said Lt. Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for the coalition. As the police, the national army, and the foreign armies are not fully able to put a stop to these violent actions, there would soon be a mass unrest which will especially affect the already ‘affected women’ of Afghanistan. An example to this consequence could be the attempt of parents in trying to stop their daughters from going to school or university for education. As the security gets worse due the Taliban’s increasing brutal deeds, so does the tension of parents increase which this will finally lead to their effort in trying to stop their daughters from going outside whether for education or any other purpose. To add more to the consequence that might be the future events of Afghanistan, the ability of 470 prisoners, or basically criminals, who are mostly Taliban, in Kandahar which has been one of the hotspots for women’s violence and women’s oppression, gives a warning for the upcoming aggressive actions Taliban might take against the security which then would lead to the greater barriers in women’s life, mainly. The acid attack towards school girls also happened in Kandahar. This shows that these 470 prisoners and if in case in the future the other Taliban members, who would mostly be out of harm's way by the police, would increase their brutal actions in Kandahar, female would be one of the most vulnerable groups in the hands of the Taliban.
Indeed the actions Taliban are taking in order to show their power, strong, and violent face is not really ended in one province, rather it almost includes every single part of Afghanistan. Helmand, a province in Afghanistan, has also become another hotspot due to the fact of the resistance of Taliban and their show off of power against the decision of the foreign army evacuation in Afghanistan. “All mobile telephone networks have been switched off in the Afghan province of Helmand after a Taliban threat.” To add some more to this problem of increasing instability and insecurity, the northern parts of Afghanistan which were considered to be much securer and peaceful in the past is getting insecure nowadays. Due to this violence, and instability, the number of Afghan civilians being killed is increasing day by day according to the UN. This is something terrible, and a great warn to the upcoming years. This shows that the more we get closer to the year 2014, the more Taliban would try to show their strength through various kinds of brutal activities throughout the country.
Moreover, the government of Afghanistan has also tried several times to talk about peace with the Taliban which would involve an American presence, yet Taliban are refusing to talk and are saying that they will do that the time when Americans leave the country. “The Taliban leaders still think they're winning - they're not interested in talking.” The Afghan government has been trying a lot to get in talks with the Taliban for the purpose of giving Taliban a chance to become a part of the Afghan nation and democracy in Afghanistan. In my opinion, even if Taliban accept to join the Afghan nation again, and become a part of the government, that would be a disaster for women. Taliban, as a radical extreme religious group, might never change their ideas related to how females should be treated in their religion, and whether female education is necessary or not. If Taliban are being brought back inside Afghanistan, that would simply mean a second stop point to the female education in the history of Afghanistan. For this reason, the government should act more consciously in this decision.
In fact, one thing that should not be ignored is the fact of endangering the lives of thousands of foreign forces by bringing them to Afghanistan. The decision of evacuation of the foreign armies from Afghanistan would be a positive decision in terms of releasing the foreign young troops and giving them their previous peaceful life back. “Polls show more than 50% of Americans want US troops to leave Afghanistan.” Therefore this decision would definitely bring a positive change in the lives of the foreign troops.
Moreover there has also been optimism among the Afghans. 63 % of Afghans who were interviewed by the ABC news in May said that Afghanistan was going on the right direction. As the former Afghan interior minister, Ali Ahmad Jalali also says, “"But during the past two or three years, I think, the quality [of the police and army] has increased." This in fact the truth. There have been much improvements in terms of security in Afghanistan. At least girls in most provinces are going to school nowadays with a hope for their future instead of fear of losing their lives.
To put an optimistic end, currently there are about 140,000 foreign troops plus 94,000 national army with 80,000 Afghan police forces. Coalitions have started in order to increase the capacity of the national army till 2014. In fact foreign armies are not going out of Afghanistan with leaving behind a vulnerable situation, yet they are going to leave Afghanistan under the conditions of a strong national army who will be able maintain the security situation. For this reason, the Afghan forces have been trained under the foreign troops and there has also been a rise in the number of the national army as well as police.
This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future, which is providing rigorous web 2.0 and new media training for 30 emerging women leaders. We are speaking out for social change from some of the most unheard regions of the world.