An eyewitness to the bombings in Kabul reported that Afghans greeted the U.S.-led military strikes in Afghanistan with silent enthusiasm. According to the eyewitness [as reported in the New York Times], a twenty-five year old man now living in a Pakistani refugee area, Afghan women were the most hopeful that U.S. attacks would lead to the end of the Taliban and its brutally restrictive system of gender apartheid. “Among women, there was optimism, 100 percent,” he told reporters. Under the Taliban, women have been banned from schools, barred from working, prohibited from meeting in groups, and forbidden to leave their homes without a close male relative or without a head-to-toe burqa shroud. Women make up sixty to seventy percent of the Afghan population, and before the Taliban rose to power, were the majority of teachers, healthcare workers, and university students.
The eyewitness also spoke of the uncertainty that many Afghans feel about the fate of a possible post-Taliban Afghanistan. He reports that in Kabul, many worry that the Northern Alliance will advance into the city and assume control of Afghanistan. Part of the hopefulness of the Afghan people over the attacks, the man explained, was the hope for a return to constitutional democracy. “People saw those bombs, and they said, ‘We can bear these things because finally we may get a government of the people, for the people and by the people.’”
The Feminist Majority has launched a massive campaign aimed at increasing humanitarian aid to the Afghan people, the restoration of Afghan women’s rights, and the establishment of a constitutional democracy in Afghanistan. To find out how you can help, log on to www.HelpAfghanWomen.com.
Media Resources: New York Times, 10/14/01; Feminist Majority