What happened to all that talk on Afghan women’s rights?

The second Bonn conference starts today to determine Afghanistan’s future ten years after the fall of the Taliban. As was to be expected, women were excluded from the talks (until less than ten days ago and as a result of protests).  ‘Gender issues are going to have to take a back seat to other priorities,’ says a senior US official.

‘There’s no way we can be successful if we maintain every special interest and pet project. All those pet rocks in our rucksack were taking us down.’

But what happened to all that talk about women’s rights, you might ask?

Well, that was all it was.


  1. danielrudolph says

    Because it was just to gin up support of the invasion. At this point, we no longer need a reason for that and are looking to get out.

  2. says

    What happened to all that talk? Here’s what happened: Afghanistan is so far outside the West’s sphere of influence (economic and cultural as well as military) that there’s simply no way women’s rights will be meaningful or enforceable after the foreign troops leave. We can’t even uphold women’s rights in Afghanistan WITH the foreign troops, so it’s just plain meaningless to talk about women’s rights after we’ve pulled out.

    The fact is, you can’t enforce anything like the US Constitution on a people who have been torn apart by war for a generation now, who have no civil society left over from the prewar days, and who have no homegrown experience with equality or democratic institutions. We will inevitably pull our troops out, and something like the Taliban will inevitably take over in their place; and the result will, in the short term at least, inevitably be heartbreaking to anyone who cares about the Afghan people. The best thing we can do is get ready for that heartbreak now, and focus our efforts in places where we have more chance of having a meaningful effect.

    The Afghan people cannot, and will not, make any progress toward a modern civil society until they’re able to restore peaceful hegemony over their own turf. And that’s gonna take awhile, foreign troops or no.

  3. says

    I’m not happy about the diplomat’s language either, but that may be inevitable if the relevant interest-groups he’s dealing with all consider women’s rights a “special-interest pet project” from the get-go. He’s probably frustrated that so many different interest-groups are actually trying to get America to enforce all the empty bullshit promises we made when we first invaded Afghanistan. (I hope he’s just as dismissive of the drug-warriors.)

  4. yoav says

    So the right of 50% of the population to not be considered property and to be treated like human being is now a pet rock, fuck you, unnamed ‘senior official’.

  5. Riley says

    Besides given the fact that you’re a red, you probably don’t support the coalition forces so its not exactly as if you support Afghan womens’ rights.

  6. Riley says

    I support a US presence in that region since it prevented the extermination of the hazaras and it keeps a regime that differs from Al-qaeda only in name contained, if the taliban had not tried to commit genocide and had no connection to AQ I wouldn’t have supported it since I don’t feel that womens rights are sufficient to justify intervention.

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