Taliban threatens progress made for women, minorities

A map of the Talibans control in Afghanistan

Wikimedia Commons

A map of the Taliban’s control in Afghanistan

Lily Livaudais, Contributing Writer

A map of the Taliban’s control in Afghanistan (Wikimedia Commons)

Fear spreads like fire throughout the communities of Afghanistan as the Taliban regain control of the state. The Taliban rose after the Soviet Union left Afghanistan and subsequently established  fundamentalist Islamic law in the country. After the recent end of the United States’ two-decade presence in the country, the Taliban swiftly took back control of the Afghan government

United States President Joe Biden’s decision to evacuate Afghanistan could have devastating and fatal consequences for women and minorities, as was demonstrated by the Taliban during the Soviet’s withdrawal from the country in 1989 and the U.S.’ arrival in 2001. During this 12-year period, the Taliban enforced discriminatory policies toward women, such as preventing women from being educated or having jobs and prohibiting women from being seen in public without their faces covered. They inflicted torturous public punishments upon women, including “floggings, amputations, and mass executions.” Such actions were the result of the Taliban’s merciless interpretations of the Quran, the holy book of Islam.  

Since the U.S.’ takeover of Afghanistan, women and minorities have gained many rights, including the right to an education and a career. Now, women in Afghanistan are concerned that the Taliban will reestablish the practices that took place just over 20 years ago. 

Current claims from the Taliban suggest that they have deviated from their previous practices; however, there have been reports that the Taliban are still persecuting women and minorities. In early July, the Taliban forced nine women to leave their jobs at a bank in Kandahar and ordered that the women’s male family members take their jobs instead. In Kunduz, the Taliban instructed female government employees to quit their jobs. In Mundarakht, the Taliban killed nine men of a religious minority called Hazaras, shooting six of them and torturing three to death. Hazaras is a Shiite Muslim group that was also oppressed by the Taliban during their previous rule. 

As the Taliban have quickly gained control over major Afghan cities, including Kabul, the country’s capital, and Jalalabad, people have begun fleeing the country. Many of these people are Afghans who aided the U.S. in its fight for an Afghan democracy.  

In a recent statement by President Biden, he said he “would not, and will not, pass this war onto a fifth” president.  He justified his decision by saying that “one more year, or five more years, of U.S. military presence would not have made a difference if the Afghan military cannot or will not hold its own country.” 

Now, Biden faces pressure, not only to ensure a safe return of all Americans who are currently in Afghanistan, but also to make significant decisions about the evacuation and housing of Afghan allies. In a speech from the White House on Aug. 22, Biden said that as soon as Afghan refugees have been “screened and cleared, we will welcome these Afghans who helped us in the war effort over the last 20 years to their new home in the United States of America. Because that is who we are, that is what America is.”  

Although most Americans seem to be open to accepting Afghan allies into the U.S., certain members of the Republican Party are raising concerns over possible dangers to the country’s security.  However, these concerns are not rooted in any real evidence.  

It is up to us as American citizens to help our Afghan allies, as they helped us in our own time of need. Americans must call their local representatives and senators to let their voices be heard to rehome Afghan refugees in the U.S. Let the U.S. be a safe haven for its allies as they escape the cruel persecution and rule of the Taliban.