Though it has been more than a decade since the downfall of Taliban and there are exaggerations about the defeat of Taliban and about the better guardianship of human rights in Afghanistan, the situation, in fact, seems to be getting worse in both the fronts. Taliban are not defeated and there are fears that they may return to power and have a lion's share in Afghanistan after the international troops withdraw completely.
With the fear of return of Taliban there are fears that the draconian laws they had introduced in Afghan society under an extremist religious regime may be brought back, which would mean the human rights and dignity would once again be threatened to a large extent.
It is a positive approach to be optimistic about the future, but it does not mean to close eyes towards the facts and figures. The return of Taliban to power and return of Afghan society towards an extremist religious setup and obsolete social practices may well be judged from the growing Talibanism in different parts of the country. In the recent few months there have been many examples that are enough to convince a sane mind that Taliban are gaining strength and will keep on doing so in the times to come, as the measures to counter them are not very encouraging.
The international troops and Afghan forces may have played an important role in defeated some groups of Taliban, but they have not been able to eradicate Talibanism from the society. The seeds have been there and they will keep on producing new fruits.
In one of the most recent brutalities, a Taliban member shot dead a woman in front of a crowd near Kabul. The woman was accused of adultery and the so-called pious servant of God treated her with the best he knew. She was shot five times as she was kneeling helpless in front of a crowd of about 150 men, who as a response to the punishment cherished the act. One from within the crowd commented, "It is the order of Allah that she be executed". There is no doubt that the punishment was senseless, but what to name the response of the people standing and cherishing around? This is Talibanism in its purist form and unfortunately it is at a time when billions of dollars have been spent and thousands of lives have been lost to eradicate the menace.
It can now be easily concluded that the incidents violating women rights in Afghanistan have not been stopped though there have been many claims of developments. In fact the changes are prevalent only on the exterior while from within the Afghan society still lacks the modernity and development it needs in order to reach to a respectable position. The support and assistance of the international community has only been able to provide clean and beautiful attire not a praiseworthy soul to Afghan society and this attire is going to get dirty very soon.
The Afghan social structure has been vehemently dominated by religious extremism and tribal nepotism. Though these factors have affected almost everyone, women have been intensely influenced as they belong to the weaker strata of the society. Most of the self-designed religious doctrines and tribal norms are against the women and discriminate their basic rights. Unfortunately, these norms and doctrines have even gone to the extent of violence and have tortured women physically – mostly in the public. They, in the name of dignity of women, have in fact degraded them. The concept of so-called tribal honor and dignity has not been able to provide safety and respect to Afghan women.
There is no doubt that the social and economic conditions in Afghanistan, to a large extent, are responsible for the deteriorating standard of living for all the people but the negligence of women's rights and dignity are on most of the occasions intentional. On most of the occasions the rights of women are not only violated by mere compulsions; rather they are choices made by the people – though a very hideous choice to make.
Currently, in another movement, Taliban have opted to target the girls who pursue education.
There have been many incidents in which hundreds of schoolgirls in different parts of country have been poisoned and discouraged to get education. In accordance to parochial tribal norms and extremist religious beliefs women are not meant to get education. Their duties are bound to be inside the boundaries of their houses, which they do not have the right to leave in any condition except after the permission of an authoritative male member.
Though there have been some improvements made to counter the traditional beliefs regarding the female education, they are mostly limited to only a couple of large cities, while most of the small cities and villages do not have proper or any arrangement for the education of women. There have been many incidents when the lunatic culprits have also thrown acids on the faces of the girls who go to schools. Parents, who are interested to let their girls get education, have to think thousand times before sending their daughters to schools.
Thus, it can be said without any hesitation that women rights are under serious threat of violation as the country is moving towards Talibanism. The concerns regarding the women rights in Afghanistan seem to be rising. A report about Afghan women last year that included a sample of 1,000 women clearly depicted that women in Afghanistan fear the return of Taliban or the Taliban like government in the times to come. Though there have been certain improvements made regarding the condition of women in Afghanistan, the concerns mentioned above still stand on strong footings.
Furthermore, the series of different sorts of incidents in different parts of country also seem to be pointing towards the threat the Afghan women are going to face if the extremist religious and obsolete traditional practices are not dealt with appropriately.
Women form an integral part of society and have an important role to play. Their representation and involvement in different walks of life can help society develop appropriately. They cannot be kept on being discriminated and violated indefinitely, because it is not only non-religious but at the same time inhumane; unfortunately, this very fact has not been realized by many in Afghan society.