Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Afghan Women – Victim of Fundamentalism

The status of women in Afghanistan has always faced a discriminatory behavior throughout the recorded history, except for the last one decade or so, since there have been certain important improvements during this period. They have been able to experience better opportunities that have made them see the positive aspect of life. Otherwise earlier, especially during the Taliban era, women were victimized by the extremist and fundamentalist version of religious practices and were even brutally tortured.

Today the women, mostly in developed urban areas, can get education and even pursue the profession of their choice. Moreover, they have been able to participate in political life to a certain extent. Most of the improvements in women's social and political lives can be best attributed to the international support. The foreign aid has worked on different projects to uplift the status of women in Afghan society and there have been positive impacts but a large portion of work has yet to be done.

US has been playing a major role in Afghanistan during the mentioned period. What have been the political intentions of US in Afghanistan is a different discussion, but its supports have definitely made the lives of many Afghans different, especially of women.

USAID has mentioned that more than 400,000 women in 180 districts across the country have been provided economic development support, vocational training, improved family healthcare, education and literacy training under a USAID-funded project.

Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker mentioned to participants of a capstone conference, "As women leaders in Afghanistan, your role in helping to build the capacity of the government and civil society, participating in decision-making and in holding your government accountable to its people is essential."

He further mentioned that US will remain committed to support Afghanistan in this regard, "The US government will look to you to continue a productive partnership as your country continues to advance towards peace and stability."

A USAID statement added that the project had awarded more than 1,000 grants totaling more than 6 million to support women-focused civil society groups in all 34 provinces of the country, in addition to ongoing technical support to 120 organizations.

The project established the Afghan Women's Advocacy Coalition, comprising 30 civil society groups, project grant recipients, individuals and the Ministry of Women's Affairs. Coalition members are leading advocacy efforts and campaigns focusing on women's access to education, justice and political participation.

Such efforts are really very much helpful and the future possible strategic cooperation with US must also include more efforts in uplifting the position of women as they play a dominant role in the establishment and evolution of society.

With the deteriorating situation of peace and tranquility and the possibilities of the comeback of Taliban or other religious fundamentalists the women fear that their lives would ones again be threatened and they would be pushed to the dark alleys of negligence.

Therefore, efforts must be made to strengthen their confidence on society so that they should keep on making efforts in making difference in the society. But one of the most important things in this regard is that in addition to projects and programs serious measures must be taken to uproot the dogmatic ideas and practices that have penetrated deep in Afghan society. O

nly after such efforts long term measures can be guaranteed for the betterment in the life of Afghan women. Yes, there are improvements but they are temporary as long as the ignorance and the dogmatism remain intact against women and there will always be the threat of degradation in the status of women that has been achieved after a lot of hard work and utilization of resources.