Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Human Rights and Withdrawal from Afghanistan

A contrarian view of the human rights impact of continuing the war in Afghanistan, but given the author it's not one to easily dismiss: a woman who "was elected to Afghanistan"s parliament in 2005 and kicked out in 2007 by the warlords".
Eight years ago, women's rights were used as one of the excuses to start this war. But today, Afghanistan is still facing a women's rights catastrophe. Life for most Afghan women resembles a type of hell that is never reflected in the Western mainstream media.

In 2001, the U.S. helped return to power the worst misogynist criminals, such as the Northern Alliance warlords and druglords. These men ought to be considered a photocopy of the Taliban. The only difference is that the Northern Alliance warlords wear suits and ties and cover their faces with the mask of democracy while they occupy government positions. But they are responsible for much of the disaster today in Afghanistan, thanks to the U.S. support they enjoy.

The U.S. and its allies are getting ready to offer power to the medieval Taliban by creating an imaginary category called the "moderate Taliban" and inviting them to join the government. A man who was near the top of the list of most-wanted terrorists eight years ago, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, has been invited to join the government.
I wish the ideas were better developed, rather than fitting within the @800 word limit of an op/ed column, but if I were to infer why she favors withdrawal it's likely because U.S. policy seems likely to cement in place a corrupt, misogynistic government.


  1. ". . . but given the author it's not one to easily dismiss" - well maybe for you, I already have dimissed it and her.

    ". . . it's likely because U.S. policy seems likely to cement in place a corrupt, misogynistic government."

    Yeah, because they would have such a grandly progressive government if we hadn't invaded . . . why, I'm sure as soon as we pull out the moderates will come out of the woodwork to build a better . . .

    There are lots of reasons to want us out, because our pulling out will improve human rights isn't one of them.

    This woman is either nuts or has an agenda that has nothing to do with the arguments she is pushing.


  2. It's pretty clear that her belief is that the U.S. will cement in place a government that, for women, is really no better than the Taliban, and she thinks there's a better chance for women in the absence of the Western agenda to cement in place a Karzai-led corrupt government of misogynistic warlords and "moderate" Talibani. Some of the laws passed under Karzai relating to how husband's can treat their wives (no marital rape, if wife says "no" husband can deny her food, etc.) raises valid concern over whether even the most "pro-western" government we can invent will do anything to improve the lot of women.

    As with many similar nations (for that matter, we have a similar effect) there's a huge clash of culture between urban and rural Afghanistan. There's cause to question whether a true national government can be created - one that doesn't rely upon a fragile set of deals and alliances - or even if a loose federal system is viable.

  3. As bad as it is, and I'm not disputng that it is bad, the Taliban (the only other option on the table) lacks even the minimal motivation to pay lip service to the rights of women that a Western puppet government would have.

    Although to be candid, at this point I am hoping she gets her wish and in a fairly short period of time, after the US pull out, she can try her luck with the Taliban.


  4. Her hope, quite clearly, is that without the U.S. to effectively prop them up, and Karzai to accept their bribes, the warlords and Taliban won't end up ruling the country. And perhaps that even if they do, the outcome will be the same but with far fewer deaths in the process. She may anticipate a return to local, tribal rule where some women outside of the cities continue to live in extreme oppression (as many do now) but the cities move toward a more western lifestyle (as was the case prior to the fall of Najibullah).

  5. Ah, she's waiting for the return of the King . . . or the second coming - both of which are equally likely in this case.



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