Development in women’s position in Afghanistan

There’s a pretty horrendous story come out about a child bride, Sahar Gul (aged 15), in Afghanistan being tortured by her new in-laws in order to get her to become a prostitute. You can find the article here, but note there are some very unpleasant pics and scenes described.

The reason this is noteworthy is that this story occurred in an Afghan paper and Afghan people were apparently outraged.

From the article:

The case highlights both the problems and the progress of women 10 years after the Taliban’s fall. Gul’s egregious wounds and underage wedlock are a reminder that girls and women still suffer shocking abuse. But the public outrage and the government’s response to it also show that the country is slowly changing.

And though things are improving a bit,

Still, for every improvement, there are other signs of women’s continued misery. The U.N. says more than half of Afghanistan’s female prison population is made up of women sentenced by local courts for fleeing their marriages — the charge is often phrased as “intent to commit adultery,” even though that’s not a crime under Afghan law. And the U.N. women’s agency UNIFEM estimates that half of all girls are forced to marry under age 15, even though the legal marriage age is 16.

I do think it is sort of hopeful that the outing of this story caused an outrage in Afghanistan. I hope Sahar is going to be ok, despite this extremely traumatic experience, and I hope that because of her, a lot of other kids are going to be more ok than they would have been otherwise.

Thanks @AllenStairs for sharing

6 thoughts on “Development in women’s position in Afghanistan

  1. I don’t see how anybody can be optimistic about what will happen in Afghanistan after 2014 when we begin to leave. When the military leaves, most NGOs will leave as well because it will be too dangerous.

    We haven’t achieved much in 10 years of being in the country. Once we leave, our influence will be close to zero. Outside of Kabul, it will be less.


  2. Unfortunately, it was the US funding the Taliban in order for them to form a buffer against the Russians in the first place that started things becoming a real big mess. At the expense of more than just women’s rights alone.

  3. To be fair, USA’s funding of Taliban groups started the Taliban-related problems we know of today, but I wouldn’t say the US started things becoming messes, as though things didn’t become messes before the 1980s; the Soviet war there killed over a million Afghan people in a country the size of Canada. And before that, the legacy of empire was not kind.

  4. I thought the Saudis had contributed as much funding to the mujaheddin (not the Taliban per se, which didn’t emerge as a coherent movement until the 90s) during the Soviet war as the US had. A number of other countries including China also funded them. Assuming for a moment that such funding is responsible for the problem (and leaving aside the question of what other problems it may have averted), why is US funding in particular responsible?

  5. The US funding is a source of responsibility regardless of who contributed comparable funding; the US both selectively funded factions of the mujaheddin and played a part in obstructing the resolution of the power vaccuum which gave rise to the Taliban, a movement which consisted of members who had been well-armed by the US. I don’t see how the funding of Taliban groups by others problematizes the responsibilities of the US (readers who don’t know exactly what Nemo and I are talking about can start with this pdf:

    Regarding the story in the OP, I think it worth pointing out that the hopeful sign is the public nature of the outrage, and not the outrage itself, lest we imply that individuals in Afghanistan had no participant reactive attitudes before. It is not up to us to say Afghan people were not, in the past, outraged or horrified at such awful things.

  6. I’m not sure whether others giving comparable funding problematizes the responsibilities of the US, but it is the sort of thing that I think problematizes (in addition to other problems, some of which you already raised) the statement “It was the US funding the Taliban in order for them to form a buffer against the Russians in the first place that started things becoming a real big mess” without further qualification.

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