The crime of being born a girl ...

23 March 2022

Two Afghan students from Lycee Maryam discuss traditional stories on an online forum in Kabul, 2005  / Public domain, Wikimedia Commons

I'm a hard cynical bastard. I learned well from the apartheid thugs who murdered Steve Biko in that most geopolitics leaves me cold. But this morning I was in tears.

Six months ago, the United States fled Afghanistan as the Taliban marched into the presidential palace in Kabul.

Today, Afghanistan's rulers have decreed girls will not be allowed to attend school beyond sixth grade.

The tragedy of Afghanistan is that up until the mid 1970s, the country was a thriving secular state.

  1. In April 1978 the country's centrist government was overthrown in a military coup backed by two Marxist-Leninist political groups. These groups had close ties with the Soviet Union and began to institute policies out of the USSR playbook: purported land reform and social restructuring while stamping out political opposition.
  2. Various insurgencies began against the Marxist government. On Christmas Eve, 1979, the Soviets invaded to prop up their new client state.
  3. The United States responded with funding for the groups of the rebellion who had begun to be referred to as the mujahideen ( “those who engage in jihad”).
  4. The Soviet invasion became an ongoing war. More than 100 000 Soviet troops controlled the urban areas. The mujahideen blended in and controlled the rural areas.
  5. The Soviets began bombing the rural areas to attack the mujahideen support base sparking a refugee crisis. Almost 3million Afghans fled to Pakistan. More than 1,5 million took refuge in Iran.
  6. The mujahideen were a fragmented group but thanks to the leadership of one Osama bin Laden, they organized themselves into a capable guerilla force with weaponry including shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles supplied by the United States.
  7. The US support for the mujahideen came from a CIA programme called Operation Cyclone which funneled money through Pakistan. The mujahideen consolidated under Bin Laden's leadership into Al-Qaeda in 1988.
  8. Also in 1988 the collapsing Soviet Union signed an accord to end the war with the United States, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The Soviets withdrew on 15 February 1989. (The Berlin Wall fell 9 months later.)
  9. The Taliban's rise to power began in 1994 founded by one Mullah Omar with fewer than 50 armed students from his madrassah in the town of Kandahar.
  10. By 1996, the Taliban had control of most of the country. Women were banned from public life and denied access to health care and education. Windows needed to be covered so that women could not be seen from the outside, and they were not allowed to laugh in a manner that could be heard by others.
  11. The Taliban's reign of misogyny continued unchecked until the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the United States. The led to the US invading Afghanistan purportedly to capture Osama bin Laden. That US occupation continued for 20 years until August last year.

Let me quote from Joe Biden's Remarks on the Drawdown of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan in one month prior to that withdrawal:

We did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build. And it’s the right and the responsibility of the Afghan people alone to decide their future and how they want to run their country.

But most critically, as I stressed in my meeting just two weeks ago with President Ghani and Chairman Abdullah, Afghan leaders have to come together and drive toward a future that the Afghan people want and they deserve.

In our meeting, I also assured Ghani that U.S. support for the people of Afghanistan will endure. We will continue to provide civilian and humanitarian assistance, including speaking out for the rights of women and girls.

If you think that sounds familiar, it's pretty much the same story Biden gave to the people of Ukraine ahead of the Russian invasion last month. And the result for the Afghan people was a foreshadowing of what was to come in Ukraine this year.

On 26 August 2021, an Islamic State bomb ripped through crowds outside the gates of Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai International Airport. Twenty-nine C-17 Globemasters and five C-130 Hercules fled the scene laden with evacuees. It was a humiliating end to a twenty year campaign by the United States costing $2.313-trillion. And the Taliban returned in triumph.

Today's edict by the Taliban is no different to what they have always practiced and what they have always promised.

But the end result today is very different to 20 years ago. These girls — young women in many cases — have had the doors of learning and culture open to them for their entire lives. Now those doors have been slammed shut. They have no recourse to any law. They have no place to flee to.

It's an act of unspeakable cruelty.

The world is going through a profound period of realignment right now, primarily as a result of Joe Biden's lies.

I feel for the people of the war zones in Ukraine, Donetsk, and Luhansk, but I know too that for many of them, the current war will end and their lives will be rebuilt.

There is no glimmer of hope for the young girls of Afghanistan.

Picture taken in 1962 at the Faculty of Medicine in Kabul of two Afghan medicine students listening to their professor (at right) as they examine a plaster cast showing a part of a human body / AFP picture fair use

Creative Commons Licence