FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Most Dangerous Place in the World to be a Woman

Here in Afghanistan, the United States is spending $2 billion dollars a week on war under the guise of improving Afghanistan. In Chicago at the NATO summit, Hillary Clinton, Madeline Albright and several influential female leaders came together and publicly claimed an American and NATO troop presence in Afghanistan was warranted in order to continue to improve the security of women. The problem is that these influential women are calling for the very thing that makes Afghan women insecure. Further, they are endorsing Afghan leaders who attack women’s rights.

Over the last ten years, the U.S. and NATO poured trillions of dollars into the occupation of Afghanistan, opening over 400 military bases around the country. From these bases NATO forces launch hundreds of night raids per month and dozens of drones fill the sky. These NATO operations have caused greater insecurity for women. They create countless widows, destroy homes, and foster a psychological terror that women are not safe and secure, even in their own homes.

It is not only the war that undermines the security and human rights of Afghan women, but the very war making politicians whom NATO supports. In March, President Karzai endorsed a nonbinding edict by Afghanistan’s religious authorities, stating that women are inferior to men, women cannot refuse to have sex with their husbands, and women should wear full hijab.  The edict stated, “men are fundamental and women are secondary,” adding women should avoid “mingling with strange men in various social activities such as education, in bazaars, in offices and other aspects of life.” Further, it sanctioned physical violence claiming “teasing, harassing, and beating women” was prohibited “without a Shariah- compliant reason”. Implementing this type of structural discrimination against women further erodes Afghan women’s human rights.

Every day Afghan women beg in the streets and struggle to cope with the mental, emotional, and social pain of living in a war zone. This past winter while billions were spent on NATO military operations hundreds of Afghan women watched their children freeze to death because of a lack of adequate shelter and fuel. In Kabul alone 100 children froze this past winter. Additionally, Afghan women face the second highest maternal mortality rate in the world.

In recent visits to schools, orphanages, and Afghan NGOs, ordinary Afghans did not identify specific ways that NATO or the Karzai government have improved the status of women in Afghanistan. In fact, ordinary Afghans noted that more and more women are suffering from mental illness. Consequently, more and more Afghan women are turning to suicide and self-immolation rather than continuing to live in the current situation.

It is because of all of these factors that in 2011, the Thomas Reuters Foundation identified Afghanistan as the most dangerous place in the world to be a woman.

If Clinton and other world leaders are on the side of improving the security of Afghan women, they should not endorse and support the war and the leaders who are actively engaged in violating women’s rights. If Americans are genuinely concerned about this issue, we need to ask why we are using war to promote these goals. Better yet, we should not further insult and harm Afghans by using women as an excuse to continue the war in Afghanistan. We must be honest and acknowledge that we can not safeguard women’s human rights by making war and supporting individuals that violate human rights.

Pat Kennelly is the Associate Director of the Marquette University Center for Peacemaking and is participating in the peacemaking efforts organized by the Afghan Peace Volunteers and Voices for Creative Nonviolence.  He writes from Kabul, Afghanistan and can be contacted at kennellyp@gmail.com

 

More articles by:

December 18, 2018
Charles Pierson
Where No Corn Has Grown Before: Better Living Through Climate Change?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Waters of American Democracy
Patrick Cockburn
Will Anger in Washington Over the Murder of Khashoggi End the War in Yemen?
George Ochenski
Trump is on the Ropes, But the Pillage of Natural Resources Continues
Farzana Versey
Tribals, Missionaries and Hindutva
Robert Hunziker
Is COP24 One More Big Bust?
David Macaray
The Truth About Nursing Homes
Nino Pagliccia
Have the Russian Military Aircrafts in Venezuela Breached the Door to “America’s Backyard”?
Paul Edwards
Make America Grate Again
David Rosnick
The Impact of OPEC on Climate Change
Binoy Kampmark
The Kosovo Blunder: Moving Towards a Standing Army
Andrew Stewart
Shine a Light for Immigration Rights in Providence
December 17, 2018
Susan Abulhawa
Marc Lamont Hill’s Detractors are the True Anti-Semites
Jake Palmer
Viktor Orban, Trump and the Populist Battle Over Public Space
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Fights Proposal to Keep It From Looting Medicare
David Rosen
December 17th: International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers
Binoy Kampmark
The Case that Dare Not Speak Its Name: the Conviction of Cardinal Pell
Dave Lindorff
Making Trump and Other Climate Criminals Pay
Bill Martin
Seeing Yellow
Julian Vigo
The World Google Controls and Surveillance Capitalism
ANIS SHIVANI
What is Neoliberalism?
James Haught
Evangelicals Vote, “Nones” Falter
Vacy Vlanza
The Australian Prime Minister’s Rapture for Jerusalem
Martin Billheimer
Late Year’s Hits for the Hanging Sock
Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail