A history of violating rights

Sara Rahman, asst. a&e editor

With a single decision, the Taliban, an Islamic extremist group in Afghanistan, shattered the dreams of a generation of women. In addition to earlier orders which excluded girls from attending middle school and high school in March 2022, the radical group declared on Dec. 20 that women would no longer be allowed to attend universities.

The Taliban depriving women of basic rights only worsens the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. The group has already imposed restrictions on women’s freedom of movement, freedom of speech, and freedom of expression. This begs the question: how far will the Taliban go?

Afghanistan’s education system has been devastated by around three decades of continuous conflict. It is already an underdeveloped country with approximately 3.7 million children deprived of education—60 percent of whom are girls. So, how will curtailing nearly half the Afghani population’s education fix this issue?

Banning education benefits no one. 

The Taliban’s ban on education raises doubt of the credibility and reliability of the group. In the education ban imposed in March, the Taliban said that middle and high schools would remain closed until a compromise between education and Islamic culture could be reached. Yet almost a year later, there have been no signs of any policies enacted to address the issue. 

As these excuses, delays and disappointments continue, an entire generation of children have been deprived of a whole year of education. This loss is incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to make up. This just goes to show yet another area where minority groups have been affected by the corrupt government endorsed under the Taliban. 

Without educated women present in Afghanistan’s society, all 40 million Afghans will be forced to rely on the male labor force, which accounts for only about 60 percent of the population. Can this demographic alone sustain and develop an entire country devastated by years of constant war? Not only will the society suffer as a result of nearly half of the population’s lack of education, but it will also add to the already heavy burden on Afghan men. 

The Taliban’s rash attempt to build a gender segregated society without having the needed labor force to sustain it is incredibly shortsighted.

Jeopardizing women’s education will tarnish the political, diplomatic, and economic reputation of Afghanistan, beyond what the government appears to be anticipating. It will further ruin the Taliban government’s already limited hopes for gaining recognition from the rest of the world and working with other nations to improve the living conditions of the Afghani people. Banning such a fundamental human right will do nothing but undermine and overshadow past government achievements—it fully presents an image of a chaotic and disordered country.

The misogynistic mandates by the Taliban reflect the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. Since the Taliban takeover in 2021, women have been suffering by multiple misogynistic mandates that seem to have no end in sight. If their end goal is to create a welcoming society and improve the quality of life for citizens, how will taking away nearly half the population’s freedom achieve this? It seems that many of the Taliban’s mandates are doing more harm than good for the vast majority of citizens.

It is necessary for Taliban leaders to rethink their decisions that are hurting Afghan women and also the Afghan nation. Failing to protect women in Afghanistan is a neglection that affects all women of the world. Women are not only an essential part of the Afghan nation, they are also a critical group to Afghanistan’s success.