The Taliban and Women: Lifting the Veil of Propaganda
Are women worse off under the Taliban? Judge for
Posted: 26 Rabi-ul-Awwal 1422, 18 June 2001
The treatment of women in Afghanistan is a subject that the Western Media and feminists
have concentrated their ideological warfare efforts on. It is important to look at the
policies of the Taliban as regards women and the facts in the country itself, as reported
by independent journalists.
Women's Life Conditions Presently and Before Taliban
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is fully committed to the social, cultural and
economic development of women. The government has been able to protect the honor, life and
property of Afghan women. Contrary to the situation before Taliban women can now be
outside their houses safely without the fear of being kidnapped, violated or looted. They
no longer fear conditions that were common before. Even Amnesty International (a biased
anti-Taliban organization) reports of 1992-95 admitted that women in Afghanistan bore the
brunt of the atrocities by armed factions. Irresponsible commanders and gunmen not only
violated the honor of women but mutilated women's bodies and in many cases, cut their
breasts etc. Similarly, common was murder, torture and execution of the people by the
armed factions. Due to the intolerable atrocities, the Taliban Islamic Movement emerged to
deliver the defenseless Afghan people from the cruel hands of the warlords.
Restoration of Women's Safety, Dignity and Freedom
Being highly concerned about the well-being of its female citizens, the Islamic Emirate
of Afghanistan, soon introduced measures to put a stop to the miserable living conditions
under which the women lived in Kabul. After the communists took over in Kabul, they began
to exploit women for the purpose of advancing their political and social agendas. In spite
of war condition in the country and with no work in the offices, the communist regime
forced a large number of women to attend government offices only for their amusement. The
Islamic Emirate decided to pay the salaries of these women at their homes, so that they
could stay home and take care of their families and children. The purpose of this policy
is to help revive the Afghan family and household, as the foundation of the Afghan
society, a foundation that was intentionally destroyed by the communist regime. The
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is determined to provide educational and employment
opportunities for the women of Afghanistan, as soon as the security and financial
circumstances under which the Islamic Emirate operates allow such a step to be taken. In
the meantime, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will try to acquire the resources and
build the facilities that would make the separate education of women possible.
Observance of Islamic Hijab or the Veil
The enforcement of the code of Islamic Hijab by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is
fully consistent with the Islamic beliefs of Afghans and the traditions of the Afghan
society. Wearing a veil is common among women all over Afghanistan. Islam and Afghan
tradition attach the greatest importance to the honor and safety of women in the society.
To comply with the Islamic code of Hijab, as well as to reduce the degree of threat to the
personal safety of women, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is asking the women to
observe the Islamic Hijab, and cover their faces in public. This is a measure that is
undertaken for the simple reason of protecting the honor, dignity, and personal safety of
the women in Afghanistan.
Women's Education in the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
Based on the holy teachings of Islam, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan considers
education as the pillar of a healthy and prosperous individual and social life. The
Islamic Emirate is determined to provide educational opportunities for all Afghans
irrespective of gender, race, tribe, language, or regional affiliations. The Islamic
Emirate of Afghanistan considers education to be obligatory equally for men and women
according to the tenets of Islam. This is a clear verdict of our Religion.
However, currently the country is in shambles, its economic structure destroyed and
education facilities turned to rubble like much else in the country. Afghanistan requires
appropriate foreign assistance to rebuild every aspect of educational institutions. The
present war situation imposed and fueled by foreign powers diverts from Afghanistan's
already meager national resources that would be better allocated to opening more schools.
Larger and more centrally-run schools in urban areas present the greatest challenge.
Before the Taliban control of Kabul, there
were 350 beds in all hospitals in Kabul. Currently, there are more than 950 beds for women
in exclusive women's hospitals.
Secondly, the Afghans do not trust the communist-style curriculum. We have to restore
the trust of the common people in government-run education. We also need to compile
a new curriculum that will answer to the needs of our society. Thirdly, the war has
created a huge brain drain in all sectors including education. In order to successfully
tackle restoration of educational, economic, political and social institutions, the
government wants to attract Afghan professionals and intellectuals living abroad. We want
them to take part in the reconstruction of their country. Without their full participation
in the rehabilitation and development efforts, the Islamic Emirate will not be able to
tackle these issues successfully.
The conditions today for the implementation of a sound, effective, and Islamic
educational program for the women of Afghanistan are nonexistent. Over ninety percent of
school buildings have been ruined by the war. Qualified teachers have left the country.
School books are full of communist propaganda and indoctrination material. Because of past
abuses of the educational system for the purpose of propagating atheist ideology and
ideas, the great majority of Afghan fathers and mothers have lost faith in schools and
Last but not least, in spite of its deep desire to activate the schooling system in the
country, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has been facing great difficulties in securing
the financial and physical resources needed to provide security for the schools,
reconstruct school buildings, print new books, acquire the necessary materials and pay for
qualified and dependable teachers. The limited amount of resources at the disposal of the
Islamic Emirate are being used to finance a war that has been imposed on Afghanistan by
the brazen and open intervention of countries such as Iran, Russia, Uzbekistan and India.
Intervention by these countries, and the resulting terrorist activities launched against
the innocent men and women of Afghanistan by groups affiliated to these countries, have
made the task of providing security for schools and public buildings, particularly girl's
schools, extremely difficult.
Currently Operating Girls' Schools
Despite the limited economic resources of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to fund
educational institutes, universities in Qandahar, Kabul and Nangrahar provinces are
operating as usual. Several NGOs have been allowed to fund schools in Afghanistan, besides
the schools funded by the government. Contrary to reports about girls education in the
press, the figures obtained from the education sector in Afghanistan, reveal that girls
education in rural Afghanistan is increasing.
According to a survey conducted by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA), almost
80 per cent of the girls schools located in rural areas under the administration of the
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan are operating in full swing. Ms. Pia Karlsson, education
advisor at the Education Technical Support Unit (ETSU) of SCA, said in a recent interview
published by the Frontier Post, a Peshawar based English daily that only in Ghazni
province, where the Islamic Emirate under the leadership of TIMA has control for the last
two years, approximately 85 per cent of the girls are still in schools. Ms.Karlsson says,
"The picture outside the cities is totally different." The SCA which has been
supporting elementary education in Afghanistan since 1984, currently supports 422 boys
schools, 125 girls schools and 897 mixed schools (co-education) in the forms of primary
schools and home schools. During the survey, she concentrated on 100 SCA supported girls
schools in the nine provinces: Kabul, Kunar, Laghman, Ningarhar, Ghzani, Logar, Paktika,
Paktya and Wardak. All these provinces are under the administration of the Islamic Emirate
According to the survey, female attendance was at 94 per cent and of the 7834 girls
enrolled, 7341 were found present. More significantly, at least 170 female teachers were
found teaching in these schools. Similarly, in Kunduz province, 122 schools are operating
with 390 female teachers teaching at the schools. The Islamic Emirate is ready to open
girls and boys schools with appropriate foreign assistance.
Female Health Sector
Health facilities for women have increased 200% during Taleban administration. Prior to
the Taleban Islamic Movement's taking control of Kabul, there were 350 beds in all
hospitals in Kabul. Currently, there are more than 950 beds for women in exclusive women's
hospitals. Some hospitals which have specifically been allocated to women include Rabia
Balkhi Hospital, Malali Hospital, Khair Khana Hospital, Indira Gandhi Child Health
Hospital, Atta Turk Hospital, Kuwait Red Crescent Hospital, Contagious Disease Hospital
and T.B. Hospital. Moreover, there are 32 mother and child health clinics. In addition to
this, women receive treatment at ICRC and the Sandy Gal Orthopaedic Centers. In all these
hospitals and clinics, women work as doctors and nurses to provide health services to