The Living Dead of Afghanistan
Travesties are committed against women every day, in every country, in every city, town and home. In Afghanistan women are not only discriminated against, they are publicly reduced to animals. Women are deprived of basic human rights: they are not allowed to travel outside their homes without being completely covered by the traditional shroud-like burqa; they are not allowed to speak or walk loudly in public; they are not allowed to laugh or speak with other women; they are not allowed to attend school nor work; they are expected to be invisible; they are the ghosts of what were once educated, notable, and successful women. With their ruthless and extreme laws, the Taliban have effectively removed the physical presence of women in Afghanistan. The Taliban have stolen the very souls of these women and have turned them into the “living dead” of Afghanistan. The Taliban’s harsh restrictions and extreme religious laws have tainted the freedoms and basic human rights of the once valued and prominent women of Afghanistan.
In 1996, the Taliban took control of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. A report by the U.S. Department of State describes that this takeover was done in a very brutal and violent manner and the Taliban left the proof of their victory hanging in the streets of the city for over a week (par. 2). In Jan Goodwin’s article, Buried Alive, it is written that the men who are in charge of enforcing the laws of the Taliban are called the Department of the Propagation of Virtue and the Suppression of Vice; these men also punish citizens who disobey the laws. The majority of this group is made up of fifteen year old boys carrying machine guns, but also consists of men armed with tire irons and steel cables (par 14).
If any citizen is seen breaking a Taliban law they will be beaten or arrested. The women are watched extremely carefully. If a mere inch of skin shows beneath a woman’s burqa, a garment that covers the body from head to foot with a cloth mesh over the eyes, multiple Taliban guards will publicly beat her. If a women is seen talking to a man who is not her mahram (a close male relative) she will be accused of adultery and either be arrested, beaten, or even in some cases executed. In Saira Shah’s eyewitness video of Afghanistan, she reported a specific incident in which a woman was seen by the Taliban talking to a male that was not a relative and was arrested after being beaten with a cable. She was found guilty of adultery and was publicly executed (“Beneath”). Women are not allowed to be represented in a trial, nor are they able to testify. Examples similar to this one are very common and illustrate the pure brutality and cruelty of the Taliban towards women.
In Youssef Choveri’s book, Islamic Fundamentalism, he writes that the Taliban emerged from religious schools run by Afghan refugees in Pakistan in 1994. He also states that due to these...