The cover of the latest issue of Time is going to shake a few people up. Aisha is a woman who fled the tyranny and abuse of her in-laws, and as a punishment, the Taliban had her husband cut off her ears and nose.
Here’s where pro-war propaganda steps in: the cover is titled, “What happens if we leave Afghanistan”. It’s set up as if this kind of horror would be a consequence of our military leaving the country. However, the story undermines that message.
This didn’t happen 10 years ago, when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan. It happened last year. Now hidden in a secret women’s shelter in Kabul, Aisha listens obsessively to the news. Talk that the Afghan government is considering some kind of political accommodation with the Taliban frightens her. “They are the people that did this to me,” she says, touching her damaged face. “How can we reconcile with them?”
If we want good news from Afghanistan, it’s not going to be measured in body counts or enclaves raided or bombs dropped. It’s going to be when we actually hear about the progressive people of the country rising up and shaming the men and mullahs and misogynists. There could be a role for military aid in protecting a fragile political and social movement, but there’d be an even stronger role for education. I don’t see much sign of that happening.