The Stifled War on Afghan Women
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There are two main themes we think of when Afghanistan is mentioned: Islamic extremism and its toxic misogyny. But how much do we understand about Afghanistan’s approach toward Islam and women’s rights? We recognise that women’s rights need to improve around the world, yet conflict-ridden countries like Afghanistan will continue to lag far behind as they fail to successfully implement these rights. Little research has been done into where the approach towards improving Afghan women’s rights by international actors such as NGOs and member states has gone wrong. Additionally, there is not much research into what kind of approach should be taken to provide more promising and effective results. Therefore, in my thesis I will analyse “to what extent Afghan women’s rights have improved since the fall of the Taliban?” This research question will enable me to weigh the advantages and drawbacks on the current approach taken by international organisations and the Afghan government on implementing women’s rights. I will do so in three stages. Firstly, by explaining the history of the ‘Taliban war against women’ throughout the twentieth century. Secondly, by analysing the effectiveness of recent declarations on women’s rights in Afghanistan. Lastly, I will look into how local and international actors that currently undermine the progression of Afghan women’s rights could instead improve the implementation of said rights. By highlighting the local and international aspects that have both positively and negatively affected the rights of Afghan women, my main aim is to emphasize the importance of including more than just western-centric solutions toward improving women’s rights in a country that is so culturally and historically different from the West. I conclude that, for international organizations to witness more effective results, they have to take an approach that should be tailored to the cultural and religious ideals of the local population. The best way of doing so is to understand the history of Afghanistan and provide agency to influential female Afghans who know so much better how to tackle the core issues of their poor treatment.