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Reply #9: Women in Afghanistan were winning until the u.s. backed the mujahideen. [View All]

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stimbox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-20-08 11:15 AM
Response to Reply #3
9. Women in Afghanistan were winning until the u.s. backed the mujahideen.
Edited on Sun Jul-20-08 11:35 AM by stimbox
...In 1965 People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), a Soviet-backed socialist organization was formed. The same year also saw the formation of the first women's group, the Democratic Organization of Afghan Women (DOAW). The main objectives of this women's group wasto eliminate illiteracy among women, ban forced marriages, and do away with bride price.

The Second Era of Change
The second era of intense womens reform occurred in the late 1970s. The 1970s saw a rise in women's education, faculty in the universities, and representatives in the Parliament. (Dupree, 1986) The year 1978 saw the rise to power of the controversial PDPA. It is during the PDPA rule that rapid socialand economic change, echoing some of the 1920s themes, was implemented and mass literacy for women and men of all ages was introduced. (Moghadam, 1997) Massive land reform programs, along with abolition of bride price and raising of marriage age were also part of the PDPA agenda. In October1978 a decree was issued with the explicit intention of ensuring equal rights for women. Minimum age of marriage was set at 16 for girls and 18 years for boys. The content of decree number 7 and the coercion of women into education were perceived by some as unbearable interference in domestic life. (Hanne, 1990) Again, the revolutionary pace of social change caused concern among the mullahs and tribal chiefs in the interiors. They viewed compulsory education, especially for women, as going against the grain of tradition, anti-religious and a challenge to male authority. As Moghadam (1997) reports, incidents of shooting of women in western clothes, killing of PDPA reformers in the rural areas and general harassment of women social workers increased. As Marsden (2002:24) points out, The PDPAsuse of force in bringing the changes to fruition, combined with a brutal disregard for societal and religious sensitivities, resulted in massive backlash from the rural population. Journal of International Womens Studies Vol 4 #3 May 2003 6 Page 7

Interestingly, or ironically, during this turbulent democratic Soviet-supported regime women'sissues moved center stage and implementation of reforms was enforced, up to a point. During this era women were employed in significant numbers in Universities, private corporations, the airlines and as doctors and nurses. But for the nation as a whole, it was a period of anarchy and destruction. Beginning with the Soviet occupation in December 1979, Afghanistan witnessed a decade long war. Fueled by external forces, funding, and political interests by the United States, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and China, the Mujahideen fought against the Soviets. The Afghan countryside was the breeding grounds forthese freedom fighters. Suspicious of the Soviet socialist agenda to annihilate the traditional cultureand religion of Afghanistan, the Mujahideen was able to gather forces to form their own revolutionary army. Their battle cry was a war in the name of Islam, emphasizing a reversal of all socialist policies including those that guaranteed women liberties through education and employment.

In 1989, when the Soviets left Afghanistan, the country was in disarray and became the site for civil war with the government transfer of power in 1992.That year the Mujahideen took over Kabul and declared Afghanistan an Islamic state. According to the US Department of State (1995), In 1992 women were increasingly precluded from public service. In conservative areas in 1994, many women appear in public only if dressed in a complete head-to-toe garment with a mesh covered opening for their eyes." This was only to be the start of the apartheid against women. As the author of Zoyas Story (2002:63) claimed, Far from rejoicing that the Russians had been defeated, Grandmother told me that a new worse Devil had come to my country. There was a popular saying around this time: Rid us of these seven donkeys and give us back our cow. The donkeys were the seven factions of the Mujahideen, and the cow was the puppet regime . According to Zoya (2002), the Mujahideen entered Kabul and burnt down the university, library and schools. Women were forced to wear the burqa and fewer women were visible on television and in professional jobs. The period from 1992-1996 saw unprecedented barbarism by the Mujahideen wherestories of killings, rapes, amputations and other forms of violence were told daily. To avoid rape and forced marriages, young women were resorting to suicide.

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