Obama seems to be hoping Afghan women will just fade into the background now.
Obama’s lack of overt attention to Afghan women has led many to fear their hard-fought gains will slip away as the United States hands off security responsibility to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, with ever-present Taliban leaders still holding sway in much of the countryside.
Women’s issues are not on the formal agenda at the NATO summit the United States will be hosting in Chicago later this month. Afghanistan is poised to send an all-male delegation.
Suzanne Nossel, executive director of Amnesty International USA, said it was “really worrying” that Obama only made a passing reference to women on his trip to Afghanistan last week, when he affirmed a general need “to protect the human rights of all Afghans – men and women, boys and girls.”
Not even putting women and girls first – making them second, just as the Taliban does.
For more than a year, the White House has been pursuing, with little success, reconciliation talks involving the Islamist group that could give it a share of power in Kabul.
“When you are negotiating with the Taliban, ensuring the rights of women is not a simple matter,” Nossel said. “In that sense you can understand why they are not talking about it but that is why it is doubly worrying.”
From everything I know it’s not so much not a simple matter, it’s impossible. Crushing women is always the Taliban’s very first priority. It’s the first thing they did when they first won the battle.
Over the past year, the volunteer group Young Women For Change glued more than 700 posters around Kabul showing a woman’s veiled face that read: “don’t grab my hair/don’t throw stones in my face/I can stand on my own two feet/I can build this country with you together.”
Almost all the posters were torn down within days.