For the past 20 years, women’s rights have advanced exponentially in Afghanistan. But now, as the Taliban take over the country once again, Afghan women stand to lose everything. For many, even their lives.
As you read this, women are currently burning their degrees and erasing their social media footprints from the Internet in order to keep from being hunted down by the Taliban. One recent Instagram post shows a translation of a tweet from an Afghan woman who writes, “If I survive and come out of Kabul one day, I will write about what happened today and in the coming days. I will write for the World to read how in 21 century, they left us alone.”
Moreover, many Afghan women will be forced to marry Taliban soldiers in order to raise the next generation of terrorists, according to one young Afghan woman. “It’s their version of the Quran,” the woman said in an interview, “They consider us, women, bounties of war.”
These women have effectively lost their identities overnight and will soon be completely hidden from the world. As Ben Shapiro recently pointed out on Twitter, the median age in Afghanistan is 18. This means that because the Taliban fell from power in Afghanistan 20 years ago, young Afghan women represent an entire generation who have never known Taliban rule.
Suppression of the Taliban brought diversity to Afghanistan through the spread of the very things the Taliban forbids: music, television, arts, and fashion. Afghan women now frantically use their voices before they’re completely silenced. One young university student wrote, “If I accept the burqa, it will exercise power over me. I am not ready to let that happen.” Even older women have taken to the streets in protest and solidarity. But many of these courageous women who are taking great risks to defy the Taliban now feel abandoned by the U.S.
The Biden administration’s decision has completely dismantled the future of a nation and it’s the women of Afghanistan who will suffer the most.
The Afghan people did not choose the Taliban. They were not given the opportunity to determine their future. Now more than ever we must elevate the voices of Afghan women and advocate not only for their safety but for their capacity to keep dreaming.