The Taliban insurgents continue their deadly war to seize control of Afghanistan after the departure of United States and NATO forces. As they close in on major cities that were once government strongholds, like Badakhshan and Kandahar, many Afghans – and the world – fear a total takeover. Afghan women may have the most to fear from these Islamic militants.
We are academics who interviewed 15 Afghan women activists, community leaders and politicians over the past year as part of an international effort to ensure that women’s human rights are defended and constitutionally protected in Afghanistan. For the safety of our research participants, we use no names or first names only here. “Reform of the Taliban is not really possible,” one 40-year-old women’s rights activist from Kabul told us. “Their core ideology is fundamentalist, particularly towards women.”
From subjugation to Parliament: The Taliban ruled all of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. Everyone faced restrictions under their conservative interpretation of Islam, but those imposed on women were the most stringent….
Geeta Pandey: The Indian girl killed for wearing jeans
Reports of girls and young women being brutally assaulted by family members have recently made headlines in India. The incidents have also put the spotlight on how unsafe girls and women are within their own homes. Last week, 17-year-old Neha Paswan was allegedly beaten to death by members of her extended family in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh because they didn’t like her wearing jeans.
Her mother, Shakuntala Devi Paswan, told BBC Hindi that the teenager had been severely beaten with sticks by her grandfather and uncles after an argument over her clothes at their home in Savreji Kharg village in Deoria district, one of the least developed regions in the state. “She had kept a day-long religious fast. In the evening, she put on a pair of jeans and a top and performed her rituals. When her grandparents objected to her attire, Neha retorted that jeans were made to be worn and that she would wear it,” her mother said. The argument escalated, resulting in the violence, she claims.
Shakuntala Devi said as her daughter lay unconscious, her in-laws called an autorickshaw and said they were taking her to hospital. “They wouldn’t let me accompany them so I alerted my relatives who went to the district hospital looking for her but couldn’t find her.” The next morning, Shakuntala Devi said, they heard that the body of a girl was hanging from the bridge over the Gandak river that flows through the region. When they went to investigate, they discovered it was Neha’s….
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