December 3, 2022
by Alexis Tarkalson
These are the exact words from Hillary Clinton, delivered during an interview with PBS:
“We have come along way on so many fronts but we are also in a period of time where there is a lot of pushback and much of the progress that has been taken for granted by too many people is under attack: literally under attack in places like Iran or Afghanistan or Ukraine — where rape is a tactic of war — or under attack by political and cultural forces in a country like our own when it comes to women’s healthcare and bodily autonomy.”
The treatment of women in Iran, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and the United States were all lumped into one bag by Clinton, and one cannot help but wonder if the women in the US really are in just as bad of shape as say, women under the Taliban regime. Let’s take a look.
It has been a little over a year since US forces were withdrawn and the Taliban swooped in to claim authority over the government. Since that time, women’s rights have become virtually extinct, and things are not looking up for the country as a whole. As of right now, nearly all the people of Afghanistan are suffering from food insecurity and it is estimated that by the end of 2022, a rousing 90% of the country will be in poverty.
Women have borne the brunt of the Taliban’s malignant oversight, specifically their newly imposed Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. This new ministry terrorizes the masses through its strict adherence to what they believe is Islamic law and it does not hide its tendency to restrict the female populations movement.
Here is a brief list of the ways in which women in Afghanistan are currently being oppressed:
- Can no longer attend secondary school
- Are encouraged to not leave their homes
- Must have a male chaperone in public
- Must be accompanied by a man if they wish to travel long distance
- Forced to completely cover their bodies, wear hijab
- Banned from parks, gyms, and public baths
- Protests are prohibited
- Not allowed to serve in a political office
- Child marriages have increased
- Many are forced to marry Taliban members
- Restrictions on where they can work
- Inhumane conditions for those in prison for protesting
This list could carry on, but I think the point has been made clear. Women under the Taliban regime are experiencing true oppression without any nuances. It was reported that one weekend in the month of November, ten women and eleven men were publicly lashed for crimes such as adultery, theft, and trying to run away from their homes. Each of these Afghans were lashed 39 times.
Amnesty International has done a deep dive into the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan, reporting statistics and interviews they have performed. One in particular is especially shocking.
“Khorsheed, a 35-year-old woman from a central province of Afghanistan, told Amnesty International that as a result of the economic crisis in Afghanistan, she had been forced to marry her 13-year-old daughter to her 30-year-old neighbour in September 2021, in exchange for a “bride price” of 60,000 Afghanis (around US$670). She said that after her daughter’s marriage, she felt relieved. “She won’t be hungry anymore,” Khorsheed said. She said she was considering marrying off her 10-year-old daughter as well, but she was reluctant to do so, as she hoped this daughter might provide for the family in the future. She explained, “She went all the way to fifth grade. I wanted her to study more. She would be able to read and write, and speak English, and earn… I have a hope that this daughter will become something, and she will support the family. Of course, if they don’t open the school, I will have to marry her off.”Amnesty International, 2022
Below is a tweet from a UN representative on the conditions of women under the Taliban regime.
Additionally in this bag of human rights oppression is the United States for their Supreme Court’s recent overturning of Roe v. Wade.
In the closing remarks for the majority opinion of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Justice Alito closed it off with these words, “We end this opinion where we began. Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”
You don’t ever hear of the Taliban relinquishing power back to the Afghan people, and if you did, it would become the eighth wonder of the world.
In no way should a now more powerful people with regards to law and human autonomy, such as the American people, be in the same category of oppression as the brave people under the Taliban’s enforcement. Such an allotment made by Clinton should be a bigger headline than it is.