Afganistans Apartheid Essay Research Paper Beginning on

Afganistan`s Apartheid Essay, Research Paper

Beginning on September 27, 1996, an extremist militia group known as the Taliban

seized control of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. Upon seizing control, the

Taliban has instituted a system of gender apartheid, which has placed women into

a state of virtual house arrest. Since that time the women and girls of

Afghanistan have been stripped of all human rights including their voice,

visibility and their mobility. The Campaign to stop Gender Apartheid, led by the

Feminist Majority Foundation, has brought together numerous human right and

women?s organizations around the world to demand an end to the abuses of the

women in Afghanistan. In the 1980?s when the Soviet Union occupied

Afghanistan, the United States gave billions of dollars, through a secret CIA

operation, to revolutionary militia forces called the mujahideen (soldiers of

God). Unfortunately, in 1989 when the Soviet Union pulled out, groups of the

mujahideen entered into a civil war and in 1996 the Taliban emerged as the

controlling force. The Taliban is actually made up of young men and boys who

were raised in refugee camps and trained in ultraconservative religious schools

in Pakistan. The primary support system of the Taliban is from Pakistan, they

provide military aid and personnel, Saudi Arabia provides the financial support.

In addition, Afghanistan is one of the world?s two largest producers of opium,

which in turn makes it a huge drug-processing center. Finally, the biggest

potential for financial support comes from the wealth of the petroleum industry.

The Taliban claim to follow a pure, fundamental Islamic ideology, except the

oppression they place upon women has no foundation in Islam. Within Islam, women

can earn, control and spend their own money; they can also participate in public

life. Both the Organizations of the Islamic Conference and the Muslim

Brotherhood in Egypt have refused to recognize the Taliban as an official

government in Afghanistan. Prior to the Taliban seizing control, women led very

different lives. Many were educated and employed, 60% of the teachers at Kabul

University were women as were 50% of the students. 70% of schoolteachers, 50% of

civilian government workers and 40% of doctors were all women. Just recently, a

United Nations Reporter, Radhika Coomaraswami, voiced her shock of the

violations she found in Afghanistan. She reported, ? widespread, systematic

violation of Taliban areas of Afghanistan.? She said she had never seen as

much suffering as she witnessed in Afghanistan. Since the Taliban militia took

control, women have been forced to beg on the streets to simply feed their

children because only a tiny percentage of women are allowed to work. Girls have

been banned from attending school after the age of eight and women can not leave

their homes unless accompanied by a close male relative. If and when a woman

does leave, she must be covered from head to toe with only a small opening to

see and breath through. Medical access is extremely limited because male doctors

cannot treat women and there are very few female physicians. Finally, the

Taliban has required women to paint their windows opaque so that the women

inside cannot be seen from the street. These rules are forcing women to lead a

life worse than the depths of hell. There are many severe and even deadly

consequences for disobeying the Taliban?s rules. An elderly woman was

critically beaten with a metal cable until her leg was broken because her ankle

was accidentally showing. A woman caught trying to flee Afghanistan was stoned

to death because the man she was with was not a relative. Many women have died

of treatable illnesses because there was no doctor who would treat them. A high

number of women, have attempted suicide by swallowing household cleaner rather

than continuing to live under these appalling and ghastly circumstances.

Ninety-seven percent of women who were surveyed by Physicians for Human Rights

showed signs of major depression. Since the Taliban has taken control of the

government very few refugees have been able to flee the country to the United

States. One woman, Nazira Karimi, fled the country one year ago after a long

drawn out process to be exiled. Karimi was a journalist who spoke out against

the Taliban?s actions and a death warrant was placed on her and every friend

and family member. After and initial denial from the United Nations High

Commissioner for Refugees, she sought help from the Feminist Majority. Finally,

after several more death threats and the kidnapping and torture of family

members, emergency action was put into place and she was exiled to the United

States. Just recently, 16 of her family members arrived safely at National

Airport with help from the Department of State and the Immigration and

Naturalization Service. In 1996 and 1997 no refugees were allow to enter, in

1998, 88 refugees entered. This year with the help of the Feminist Majority

Foundation, the Department of State will allow approximately 1500 women and

children to enter the United States to be saved from the deadly actions of the

Taliban. Currently, many national and international rights organizations are

asking the United States and the United Nations to not recognize the Taliban as

a legitimate government. Recently, the United States and the United Nations have

threatened to impose sanctions against the Taliban if they do not turn over

Osama bin Laden, a multimillionaire terrorist extremist. The Feminist Majority

Foundation has appealed to the United States and United Nations to also include

the brutal gender apartheid policies and human rights violations as part of the

sanction conditions. President Clinton acknowledged the Talibans horrible

treatment of women and pledged not to recognize the militia group until all

human rights are restored. I, personally, am not a big fan of allowing

immigrants and refugees into our already overcrowded and problematic country,

but after researching this paper my views have changed. I still believe we

should restrict how many refugees are allowed into the United States, but in

times of such dreadful and deadly actions of the Taliban we need to do something

to protect these women and children. After looking at pictures and reading about

the disgusting cruelty, I emailed government and UN officials from the Feminist

Majority web-site. As I sit and type this paper, women are being beaten and

killed for no reason what so ever, except for the fact that they are female. I

believe for once our nation needs to work quickly to help stop these brutal acts

of human rights violations. People are urged to email the Secretary of State and

the President to urge him to impose sanctions of the Taliban and not recognize

their appalling form of government.


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