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The Taliban Is the Enemy of Women

Posted October. 05, 2001 08:36,   


``I came back to my homeland after struggling with a guilty feeling as I was aware of my people’s wretched lives.``

Afghanistan`s miserable reality has changed a life of one woman, who left her homeland 36 years ago to marry an American, and spent happy years in New York. Nasrin Gross, the representative of an international organization named NEGAR, which was organized to support Afghan women, has begun her relief activities in her homeland enveloped in war, to which she returned in 25 years.

NEGAR, which means in native terms `friend` or `right`, was organized in Paris by Afghan women who lived aboard in order to fight against the Taliban government, which occupied the capitol Kabul in 1996 and began to persecute women in many ways. In the meantime, it collected 5 million signatures for a petition to the United Nations for demanding the Taliban to stop the persecution of women, and brought forth the `300 Afghanistan Woman Leaders’ Declaration`, which demanded for the securing of women’s fundamental human rights.

--Why does NEGAR criticize the Taliban?

``The Taliban regime has destroyed the lives not only of Afghan women but also of all Afghan people. Before the Taliban`s regime, 70 percent of schoolteachers and 74 percent of medical professionals (medical doctors and nurses) were women. The Taliban banned the employment of women, so that many schools were closed due to lack of teachers and many patients were dead due to lack of medical doctors. This is nothing but a terror conducted by the name of religion.``

--In what ways does the Taliban persecute women?

``It is well known that all women are forced to wear the `chador` that covers even their eyes. But worse than that, women are not allowed to have jobs or have education. Until 1996, 50 percent of college students in Afghanistan were women.``

--How do you forecast the future of Afghanistan?

``The Taliban government will fall down soon because it has lost the people`s support. We hope that a new government will come in that will respect women`s rights. The Northern Alliance agreed to establish the new constitution that would reflect our opinion when they came to occupy Kabul. It is a matter of course that we should help Afghan women who will suffer greatly if the war has begun.``