Editorial

EDITORIAL: Battle for Afghan Women’s Rights Tied to Women’s Rights in America

Americans are up in arms over President Joe Biden’s recent and final decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan and end the 20-year-old “Forever War.” Immediately, the Taliban staged a takeover of the country, including the capital city of Kabul, while U.S. troops began an evacuation of Americans that turned into pure chaos. It’s a mess, we agree, but time will tell if Biden made the right decision that his predecessors refused to make.

However, before eyes quickly turn back to the domestic issues facing the U.S., some are asking what will become of women’s rights in Afghanistan under the rule of the Taliban? Will they be allowed to return to work, drive and assume leadership roles in the Taliban-led government? Will girls, 10 and older, be allowed to return to school? Will all women be required to wear headscarves and what will happen to those who refuse?

The media continues to report on atrocities waged against women and girls in Afghanistan, despite the Taliban’s recent promise to recognize women’s rights. The U.S. State Department reports “a catalog of horrors that knows no national boundaries” of women around the world who are “in trouble,” according to a recent article in USA Today. Women’s rights are frequently ignored and they suffer violent sexual abuse and torture to keep them subservient and in their place.

When women in the U.S. celebrated last year’s election of Kamala Harris to the second-highest seat in the land, others broke glass ceilings. Still, too many women are victimized by sexual predators and sex traffickers and they often face discrimination and other forms of verbal and physical abuse. The statistics are astounding, particularly for Black women and girls who are disproportionately represented among the victims.

We wish we could do more than offer hope and a safe transition for the women remaining in Afghanistan. However, we can encourage them to continue fighting to serve and protect their country and prepare themselves to lead when the doors open.

The battle for women’s rights is far from over. It continues all over, including here in the U.S.

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