Taliban: Back to the Middle Ages

By Costas Vergos

August / 2021

So, history is not just about moving forward. Taliban’s "middle ages" returned to Kabul after 20 years of "western" experimentations and many temptations (and equally much economic corruption). The quadruple, over-equipped, but of low-morale, official Afghan army was defeated by Taliban insurgents in just a few weeks.

The 2020 Doha agreement between the US and Taliban, about the withdrawal of US troops, was made without the presence of the then official Afghan government. (Trump's typical treatment of allies - similar to the abandonment of his Kurdish allies at the same time in Syria). Biden, the current president of the United States, ignited, a few months after his election, the new humanitarian catastrophe in the region, the consequences of which will be first experienced by Afghan women οn their own skin.

Burga, child marriages, restrictions on women's education and work, murders of those who break the "rules". The Taliban spokesman spoke yesterday about women's rights under Sharia (the religious law), avoiding talking about the ("western") natural rights a human has by birth, regardless of gender, race or class.

Here, in any way, are two characteristic excerpts from a last year's Fatima Faizin’s article in the NYT on September 6, 2020 (that is, long before Taliban returned to the capital):

"Even in Kabul, women who do not completely cover their hair or appear in public with a man who is not a member of the family are sometimes cursed or attacked by men. Child marriages are common in rural areas. "Hundreds of thousands of Afghan girls are out of school."

"Ms. Yari has an outstanding job. She deals with human rights and civil rights cases brought in by civil servants to the US-backed Kabul government. It is a position that would be unthinkable for a woman in a Taliban-dominated society, but it provides no security against harassment or harsh decisions. When I was trying, says Ms. Yari, to escape a child marriage, I did not feel so stressed as I do now. I still feel pressure on many levels. Do I wear makeup or not? Do I wear my scarf? Do I wear tight or loose clothing?

(Ms. Yari, after escaping from forced child marriage, traveled to the United States with the help of American soldiers, studied in Columbia and returned to her homeland to offer her services.)