The PJ Tatler

Obama's War on Women picks up speed in Afghanistan

The real “War on Women” happens not in America, where women enjoy every imaginable right, safety and legal protection, but rather overseas in countries with Islamic or macho social structures, where women are either informally or officially treated as second-class citizens, or worse.

This is nowhere more true than in Afghanistan, which is both Islamic and macho, and where under Taliban rule women were reduced to the status of chattel slaves.

The 2001 allied attack on Afghanistan started as a war against Al Qaeda, which had found safe harbor in Taliban hands, but quickly accelerated into a war against Taliban rule and extremist Afghan Islamic culture in general; only by changing the fundamental social tenets of Afghan society could we prevent the re-emergence of the Taliban as a terrorist safe haven.

The liberation of Afghan women would have been the most visible result of a new social fabric in Afghanistan. But unfortunately the “old ways” were deep-seated and not so easy to uproot, even after the Taliban were driven from Kabul. While progress in women’s rights, education and status had definitely been greatly improved since the Taliban era, there was still more work to be done.

But President Obama threw away a decade’s worth of social progress and abandoned Afghan women to the Dark Ages once again when he announced a definite timetable for American troop withdrawal. Immediately, the Taliban were emboldened, and started making plans to re-seize power once the last American soldier left the ground.

In essence, through his actions (and inactions) Obama has waged a war on millions of Afghan women, offering them as sacrifices to Taliban cruelty, a small price to pay for a boost in popularity among the anti-war crowd back in America.

His decision is already starting to have negative real-world effects, as noted by even the left-leaning Guardian:

Afghan women leave the country in fear of Taliban return

The threat of a curtailment of women’s rights prompts many to quit before the 2014 handover

A brain drain of bright young women is already taking place in Afghanistan before the 2014 handover that many fear will mean a reversal of advances in women’s rights.

The lack of commitment by the Afghan government to equality and to tackling the high rates of ill-treatment of women in the home and in the workplace is raising real fears they will be at the bottom of the political agenda in the push for power after Nato forces leave the country.

Worsening security for civilians – casualties among ordinary Afghans have risen year on year for the last five years with 3,021 killed in 2011, and women are thought to be suffering disproportionately – has led to rising numbers of women and girls leaving education and the workforce and staying indoors, according to Guhramaana Kakar, a gender adviser to President Hamid Karzai.

Speaking to the Observer, Kakar said negotiations between the government and the Taliban and other insurgent groups were ignoring women’s rights. A recent survey by charity ActionAid suggested 86% of Afghan women were fearful of a return to Taliban-style rule. One in five worried about the education of their daughters but 72% said their lives were better now than a decade ago. …

Growing levels of violence against women and a disregard by many courts for their legal protection has led to horrific stories of children being raped and then imprisoned for adultery, and schoolteachers being attacked for teaching girls. ActionAid’s head of public affairs, Melanie Ward, said the security situation was an enormous threat to women. “Experience tells us that an increase in attacks on women is often an early warning sign that the Taliban is regaining control in an area.” …

“During the first few years after international troops entered the country a lot of things changed in Afghanistan,” she said. “There was positive progress and change in the day-to-day lives of many Afghan women. Unfortunately, since 2007, things changed dramatically as insecurity has increased [and] discrimination against women at all levels has increased. Life has become more difficult for women but they are not willing to be pushed back into the box.

“Why should all the plans for the future of Afghanistan ignore half of its population?”

There is a War on Women. But it is not being waged by fiscal conservatives in America; it’s being waged by Islamic extremists, and their Western enablers.