In 2012, 36% of pupils were girls

Iram Ramzan takes on Yvonne Ridley.

[A]ccording to Muslim convert and Respect party activist Yvonne Ridley, the war in Afghanistan was a total failure. On Twitter, she said: “So Taliban undefeated, no career women emerging from rubble & only success story is the rapid growth of opium in Afghanistan.”

While the situation in Afghanistan is far from ideal, there are some good things to have emerged since the western intervention, one of them being the the education of women, which I pointed out to her.

.@yvonneridley in 2000 there were no girls going to school in Afghanistan. In 2012, 36% of pupils were girls. I’d say that’s an achievement

Ridley denied this, saying that there were girls in school when she was in Afghanistan. She said: “I was there with the BBC in February 2002 recording a [BBC] R4 show”. There may well have been girls in schools in 2002, but Ridley failed to acknowledge that her visit was several months after NATO’s intervention in Afghanistan and the overthrow of the Taliban.

It’s highly debatable how much good NATO’s intervention in Afghanistan has done and how it measures up to the cost in lives and everything else, but distortions don’t help anyone zero in on a good estimate.

Ridley was correct when she pointed out that women were attending universities in 2002 – but that was after western troops went in to Afghanistan. Yet the Taliban and their supporters were determined to sabotage education for women. So if there is a reason why things are not perfect in Afghanistan, at least in regards to women’s education, is is certainly not the fault of the west. It is the  fault of the insurgents who are determined to keep females in what they deem is their rightful place – illiterate and under the subordination of men.

It’s probably partly the fault of the west, if you take the long view. Money lavished on the mujahideen fighting the commies did play a part, to the best of my knowledge. But it wasn’t the goal of NATO’s intervention, and it was the Taliban’s goal. Ridley is tap dancing by pretending otherwise.

I am not suggesting that life for women (and even men) is ideal in Afghanistan, far from it. According to Government figures from 2013, only 26 per cent of Afghanistan’s population is literate, and among women the rate is only 12 per cent – a dismal figure. But it is a damn sight better than it was under Taliban rule, where girls were officially banned from having an education. Perhaps Ridley needs to remember that, unless she seriously believes the Taliban weren’t so bad after all?

Maybe Ridley thinks the Taliban is fighting the good fight against Social Justice Warriors.


  1. k_machine says

    “Maybe Ridley thinks the Taliban is fighting the good fight against Social Justice Warriors.”
    That’s why she lists “Taliban undefeated” as one of the bad things that happened I reckon.

    America cares so much about Afghan women, in fact, that they opened its borders to anyone of them that wants to leave, oh right that’s the opposite of reality where even the Askari translators are being abandoned to their fate. Watch the documentary “This is What Winning Looks Like” for a view of the child-raping warlord scum that US tax dollars are leaving in power. US cooperation with war criminal warlords from the getgo proves that they care nothing for Afghan women or men. A useful Potekim facade to prop up a garbage cause, the next generation of refugees (the Soviets left a similar legacy). “Things are not ideal in Afghanistan”? I’ll say 90 % of all opium comes from Afghanistan, if you have a relative who died from heroin, thank a soldier. You know you can’t hide an opium field, they need water and sun and stuff, but the most powerful military in the world somehow couldn’t be assed to go out with a zippo and burn them down. Oh right, the Afghan heroin ends up killing loads of Iranians so that’s something to celebrate (we care deeply about the plight of Iranians, there fore we will prop up the Saudi tyranny with billions in arms, also the Taliban only exist because of our Saudi friends, but never mind).

    Hey, you live in a country that named its capital after the guy that traded 9 year olds as sex slaves and exterminated all the indigenous people of Hispaniola. How’s the view from the top of the pyramid of skulls? Read some stuff from RAWA – they have always fought the Taliban and they have always opposed the US rape of their country.

  2. brett says

    K_machine’s comment amuses me. There’s always someone like that in a comment thread when you point that conditions in a muslim country are somewhat less than ideal – a rambling, jump-around mess of “bububububu-t you do it too!”

  3. RJW says

    Of course the position of women in Afghanistan has improved since the end of the Taliban, however, it’s easy to be pessimistic in regard to the future, the country is still dominated by a misogynistic, theocratic oligarchy. Sooner or later, most probably, the nation, such as it, is will default to Taliban rule or some equally barbarous regime, back to square one.

    As to the war being a mistake, Prof Johan Galtung claims that some Afghans expected a U.S. invasion and occupation long before 9/11 provided a ‘justification’, since the country’s strategic position would be useful in any future war with China.
    It’s remarkably arrogant for Americans, or other Westerners, to claim that some ‘good’ has emerged from the wars in Afganistan and Iraq, I wonder what the opinion of the millions whose lives have been ruined by the wars is, and of course we can’t consult the dead. They make a desolation and call it ‘democracy’.

  4. decker says

    K_machine’s comment amuses me. There’s always someone like that in a comment thread when you point that conditions in a muslim country are somewhat less than ideal – a rambling, jump-around mess of “bububububu-t you do it too!”

    Yeah, some people cannot resist the urge to tie all the world’s problems back to America. Perhaps NATO should have just stood by and allowed the Serbs to kill Bosnians en masse.

    Damned if you do, Damned if you don’t.

  5. sailor1031 says

    In 2012, 36% of pupils were girls

    Well IIRC in October, 1978 (under the communist government) education of girls was made mandatory. I guess things have only gotten better since then. Also IIRC the destruction of opium fields was not undertaken because the puppet Karzai regine was afraid that even more afghanis, if deprived of income would join the resistance. And it was and is a large source of foreign exchange for Afghanistan.

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