At the end of the week Fundamental rights are not just about principle but also about survival – Afghan women and girls will not survive without a livelihood and schooling

Is gone for two weeks so that teenage boys are allowed to go to school in Afghanistan, but teenage girls are not. Since the Taliban took over the country in mid-August, women and girls have lost much more. Women can no longer gain access to their country’s government, parliament, judges or police. Not to many other jobs.

This week, a Taliban spokesman on the Afghan channel Tolonews gave more instructions to women on television: women are not allowed to wear eye-catchingly colored clothes, smell good, or use perfume when they leave home. And women are not allowed to wear shoes that make a sound. The heel of high heels attracts the attention of young men.

On social media, some Afghan women have asked: if this happened in another country, would the world be as quiet as it is now?

After a spectacular evacuation operation, the situation in Afghanistan is beginning to fade on the Western news agenda.

I am also tried to observe a political reaction: just as if apathy had taken power. This applies to the speeches of the Finnish foreign policy leadership, but also to members of parliament and many non-governmental organizations, with some exceptions.

Afghanistan recently dominated the agenda at the UN General Assembly in New York. Priority was given to the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the country. There were fewer specific demands for the status of women, yes, there were top-level appeals. Of course, we do not know what has been said in the bilateral discussions. Based on the public speeches, the atmosphere seems to be waiting.

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said at the UN in his speech: “And yet, unfortunately, Afghanistan is just one example among others.”

It is not. There is currently no other country in the world that would ban girls over the age of 12 from school. Admittedly, some teachers still seem to take the risk and continue to teach girls as well.

Twenty years ago, Finland was also strongly committed to promoting the cause of women in Afghanistan. Even the entire Western military operation has been justified by defending women’s rights.

It is now reiterated that democracy or human rights cannot be forcibly taken away. So to speak, we ignore all that Afghan women have done and are doing for their rights.

However, a proper explanation and discussion of the errors in the export operation would also be needed. Even evil has been done under the guise of women’s rights.

An example of tragic mistakes was the most recent airplane attack on Kabul in the United States to date. Ten people died, including seven children and an aid worker.

Iskun then I sent a message to a colleague in Washington. I asked if this would have any consequences for anyone.

He was amazed at the question and found his reaction eloquent. He hadn’t even come to think he would come. They don’t usually come.

The International Criminal Court decided this week to open investigations into Taliban and Isis-K acts in Afghanistan. For the time being, the investigation of crimes committed by other parties may be pending.

According to the UN, in the first half of 2019, U.S. and Afghan forces and their allies killed more civilians in Afghanistan than the Taliban. Between 2016 and 2020, 40 percent of air strike victims were children. We did not see the names or pictures of most of the victims. Most of them were in the countryside. Journalists in international magazines usually did not travel to their family members or make them front-page stuff. Because of the war, it was impossible.

If the treatment produces more bodies than the disease itself, perhaps people will indeed conclude that it is better to try to cope with the disease.

What now then should do? At least you have to try to listen to those you are trying to silence.

Since the summer, I have been in contact with some women activists and ordinary people in Afghanistan. My idea was to monitor the situation of women after the withdrawal of international troops and do something later. For some, the messages are no longer gone, for unknown reasons. We have still communicated with some.

In recent weeks, the discussions have become even more cautious. In the calls, people have avoided mentioning the name of the Taliban. Various rotational expressions are invented. Some homes have been searched. It’s hard to know how openly people talk.

There are many women in Kabul who have so far supported their families.

Fundamental rights are not just a matter of principle, but of survival. There are many women in Kabul who have so far supported themselves or their families. Now many of them are without a livelihood, live on their savings and sell their property.

Much is said that a number of Afghan women’s organizations recently issued a petition without the names of the signatories. In it, they demand that the world not recognize the Taliban if the Taliban does not commit itself to respecting women’s rights. They also demand an investigation into war crimes. Afghan women activists have also argued that girls ’schooling should be a prerequisite for any cooperation with the Taliban. Afghanistan is dependent on foreign currency, so there should be channels of influence.

Western countries should not and should not try to save Afghan women on their behalf. But they can be supported. The longer girls are out of school and women away from work, the more difficult decisions can be reversed.


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