Afghan women are again working on the outlook for life under the Taliban


Kabul, Afghanistan-May 18, 2021: On Tuesday, May 18, 2021, Laila Hydari tends to go to the Flower Gardens of Taj Begum, a café in Kabul's shabby chic Prisuluk district of Kabul, Afghanistan. Los Angeles Times)

Laila Hydari takes care of her café in Kabul, the Flower Gardens of Taj Begum. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Laila Haidari hasn’t slept soundly since the day the Taliban and the United States began negotiations almost two years ago.

Haidari owns the café Taj Begum in the shabby and chic Puli Surkh district of Kabul. Why does it target her to the Taliban’s wrath? Let’s count the methods.

Perhaps it’s her jet-black bob, make-up, manicure, coordinated with the shimmering white salwar kameez, as far away from Burqa as Kabul comes from LA. The elegant gardens of Taj Begum. Then there are recovering drug addicts who work as waiters and rely on the proceeds of the cafe to fund the treatment center established by Haydari.

Laila Hydari greets customers

Laila Hydari welcomes you at Taj Begum Cafe. The Taliban “will never allow such a place,” she says. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Most will survive the acquisition by the fundamentalist Taliban.

“The Taliban’s thinking, their idealism-they will never allow such a place,” Haydari said.

As a woman, she added that she wouldn’t even be allowed to run a cafe in the first place. “But that’s not about me. It’s not about women like me. Overall, I’m worried about the situation for women.”

She has a reason to worry. The Taliban are on the battlefield.Recently, their fighters Steamed government troopsThey have robbed more than one-third of Afghanistan’s district, but the government claims it’s a promotion. Armed groups command the major border crossings between Iran and Tajikistan and stand at the gates of the major state capitals.Their leaders are their Return to power is almost inevitable..

And when President Biden ordered the U.S. military to leave Afghanistan by August 31, many women found that the Afghan faction had fallen into a full-scale civil war and the Taliban ascended to heaven in their recent history. I am afraid of an imminent return to the darkest of all.

During the five-year reign of 1996-2001, the Taliban imposed strict interpretations of Islamic law on Afghanistan, forcing women and girls to live in isolation and banning most employment and education after the age of eight. I did. The injunction faced beatings, public harassment, and even death.

Hosna Jalil, cross arms and talk to staff

“The Taliban refers to the’Islamic framework’, but there are no details about what it looks like,” he said. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

In all the justifications for the US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, few have gained enough support to help women in the country. On board was as different as actor Angelina Jolie and former First Lady Laura Bush. I once took over Mike from my husband In response to his weekly presidential radio speech discussing how the Taliban threatened to “pull a woman’s fingernails because she was wearing a manicure.”

As the fighting prolonged and more American casualties increased, the education of girls and women became the focus of Washington’s efforts to market the war to increasingly skeptical Americans.

Even if it is non-uniform, it has undoubted advantages. According to 2020 figures from the United States Agency for International Development, about 40% of the approximately 9 million children enrolled in schools in Afghanistan are girls. According to the Ministry of Higher Education in Afghanistan, about 100,000 people are studying at public and private universities.

In the last 20 years, women have An unimaginable role under the Taliban’s control — As a politician, soldier, police officer, journalist, actor.

The concern now is how much of the hard-earned profits will face setbacks and complete reversals if the Taliban seize power or negotiate the path to a national organization. Women’s rights often fell on the roadside before the greater priority of the Afghan government, as groups surged militarily. Many cite the example of Gulbuddin Hekmatial. Former military commander known as “Butcher in Kabul” The believer sprayed acid on the woman’s face, but was invited to rejoin the government to promote peace talks with the Taliban.

Washington-based Afghan researcher Fatima Ayub said, “If the government puts a little pressure on it or looks for a tip to negotiate, it will sell women faster than anyone else.” ..

In March, when the Ministry of Education banned girls over the age of 12 from singing at school events, it already seemed to be the norm. The move has been criticized by activists as a “Taliban” movement from within the government. The ban was revoked after public protests, but many fear that such activities could be sacrificed as a ridicule to the Taliban.

The United States and its partners also appear to have withdrawn from their previous commitment to improving many women in Afghanistan, with some officials saying women’s rights as a concern for urban elites in cities like the capital Kabul. Areas that dismiss progress and are not a concern for rural women.On the other hand, President Biden and others have their purpose Never changed the country..

“We didn’t go to Afghanistan to build the country,” he said in a recent television speech. “And deciding their future and how they want to run their country is the sole right and responsibility of the Afghan people.”

In May, numerous civil society and religious leaders in the United States, Afghanistan and other countries sent a letter to Biden saying, “UN peacekeeping to avoid paying for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. He called for support for the creation of the military, in the lives of female students, “AP reported.

One project The future looks unstable The Zora Orchestra, an all-female ensemble playing classical Afghan and Western music. This group was formed in 2015 under the State Institute for Music Research (ANIM) in Afghanistan. It seems almost guaranteed to annoy the Taliban, which outlaws music.

Young violist

Lina, a 13-year-old viola player, focuses on music during a rehearsal of an all-female Zora orchestra in Kabul. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

The girl puts her head on the music stand.

Anita takes a break during a rehearsal of the Zora Orchestra at the State Institute for Music Research in Afghanistan in Kabul. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

One afternoon in May, 18-year-old blue-eyed Sunbul walked across the courtyard of the ANIM compound, heading for the practice room, with a violin case hanging on his shoulder.

Music education in Samburu has never been so easy. At the age of six, she left the village of her parents in Nuristan and continued her education in Kabul. In her fourth year, she attended ANIM to learn the violin, but had to hide the violin from her parents for two years. They knew when they saw her co-starring with the Zora Orchestra on TV.

A young female musician wearing red and black.

18-year-old Sunbul is a violinist at the Zohra Orchestra. If the Taliban hijacked Kabul, “I would have to leave,” she says. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

“Twice the Taliban came to my dad and told him that he should stop learning music. They told him,” If she continues, we will drive you out of the village. ” Said, “said Samburu.

“He told them that I now live in Kabul. When I visit, I do it secretly under the burqa.”

What if the Taliban hijacks Kabul?

“I can’t even imagine. That would be really difficult for me,” she said. “I will have to leave. Music is my dream.”

The Taliban’s attitude towards women’s rights is not uniform. Groups with decentralized leadership Girls’ schools reopen in some areas Last year’s Human Rights Watch reported that when village elders pressured them to do so, they were under their control, but rarely those over the age of twelve. Elsewhere, there are reports of trying to re-impose that style of religious domination, prohibiting women from leaving home without male relatives and forcing men to grow beards.

“There is no clarity. The Taliban refers to the” Islamic framework. ” But there are no details about what it looks like. “

In recent months, assassination campaigns have targeted activists as well as prominent women in the country. The Taliban do not claim responsibility, but many say the group is laying the groundwork for its return by removing the center of opposition.

Some Afghans say that if the Taliban succeeds in taking over the country, they will encounter a society light-years away from the ones that dominated in the 90s. They say they can’t roll back the watch in 2001, if the group wants it.

Girl leaving the orchestra rehearsal

The musician leaves after the Zora Orchestra rehearsal. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

They are also women from Afghanistan Fighting for their rights Long before Americans touched the soil of Afghanistan.

“Generally, Western countries believe that Afghan women began to exist in 2001. At the heart of it is a very oriental way of seeing women’s progress in Afghanistan,” said a former Deputy Commerce and Industry. Mukadessa Julish, Minister and Lecturer at American University, said. Kabul University. She created the environment that Western nations could enable, but added that “we risked Afghanistan’s life to build these opportunities.”

Researcher Ayub agrees.

“This is the latest sign of the’white savior complex’. I intend to bring the principles of civilization to this country, “she said. “But those women struggled with their work, even during the Taliban’s reign, whether there were Americans, British, or other foreigners to help them. Probably. “

Critics also point out that the background to what benefits could have been achieved was horrific violence, human rights abuses, and endemic corruption — the very illness that enabled the rise of the Taliban 25 years ago. ..Progress was temporary and uneven A society where misogyny has taken root In many cases, it may appear to be disguised as religious devotion. And the Western claim to bring rights to women tells the Taliban story that “everything you see is a direct result of the existence of foreigners and will disappear when they leave.”

“My personal confidence comes from the long-term commitment of the women to stay,” said Orzara Nemat, an independent Afghan researcher currently in London.

“And I have always said that the changes over the last two decades have not been simple and superficial. Khawarij [foreigners], The woman will board the plane. “

Cafe staff and Laila Haydari

“I definitely want to stay,” says Laila Haydari, who talks to staff in the cafe’s kitchen. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Haydari may not be optimistic, but the owner of Taj Begum Cafe claims she won’t go anywhere.

“I would get lost without Tajbegum. It would be too difficult for me to leave it,” she said. “I definitely want to stay.”

But there are enough in the United States. Biden was asked if there was any “message” about the achievements of Afghan women and talked about meeting an Afghan high school girl who begged for a U.S. military stay to become a doctor a few years ago. It was.

“That-it was painful,” Biden said.

He didn’t have much else to say.

This story was originally Los Angeles Times..

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