[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.