Thursday, September 23

What life was like in Afghanistan in the 1970s



Afghanistan It is today the focus of all eyes. The flight of President Ashraf Ghani last Sunday and the withdrawal of the Afghan Army, which did not offer any resistance to the arrival of the Taliban in Kabul, have led to the flag of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan wave to the top of the presidential palace in record time. The international community fears that Islamic fundamentalists will reimpose their law, the ‘sharia‘, as they did between 1996 and 2001, years that are known as the’reign of terror‘, since during that period there were innumerable violations against the human rights, especially against the life of the women.

Thousands of citizens crowd the Kabul airport trying to escape. The harsh images of people trying to access planes are devastating. They fear for their life and especially that of women and girls Afghan, whose existence is relegated to nothing according to the religious doctrine of the fundamentalists.

The population of Afghanistan has suffered various wars and totalitarian regimes throughout its history. However, they have not always lived under the domination of foreign forces or the taliban.

Afghanistan and women’s rights

In recent days, an image of three women walking through Accept. The photo was taken by Laurence Brun in 1972 and is a reflection of how in the 1970s life for women afghan women it was similar to what the women of western countries of the time could live. The three women in the picture are wearing skirts and short dresses, which clashes with the clothing to which women living in countries run by Islamic fundamentalists are destined today.

Women walking through Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1972
Women walking through Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1972 – Laurence BRUN / Getty Images

In the 20th century, the country experienced a great development of Women rights. During the reign of King AmanullahBetween 1919 and 1929, the freedom of women in the public sphere was promoted to reduce the control that families had over them. Female education was encouraged and in 1921 the law of forced marriage and child marriage was abolished and restrictions were placed on polygamy, a very common practice in Afghanistan at the time.

The Reina Soroya, Amanullah’s wife, is considered one of the first Afghan and Muslim activists, as she carried out different reforms to improve the lives of women and their position in the family nucleus. However, these rulers were not liked by everyone. Afghanistan’s society was not prepared for the gender equality and the modernizing measures that the monarchs wanted to carry out. Finally, various protests of a more conservative court ended the reign of the marriage.

Their successors were more moderate, but they continued to advance towards equality between men and women. After choosing Mohammed Daud Khan as prime minister women began to have more public presence. One of their main goals was to try to break free from the Islamic extremist tradition of treating women as second-class citizens, whose lives were not worth as much as men’s. Thus, women began to be eligible for certain jobs and they began to enjoy certain freedoms that were previously denied to them.

Biology class in Kabul, Afghanistan
Biology class in Kabul, Afghanistan

In 1950 the ‘purdah‘, the practice of the Muslim and Hindu culture of North India to confine and hide women from men other than their direct relatives (mahram) and in 1964 the Constitution of Afghanistan, which was in force until 1977. With the Magna Carta a new parliament was created, dominated by its lower house, which was to be elected by Universal suffrage. In other words, from this moment on, all Afghan citizens had the right to vote, including women.

Women in Anatomy class in Afghanistan
Women in Anatomy class in Afghanistan – Getty Images

However, during the coups d’état and the Soviet occupation, which began in 1979, as well as conflicts between the Government and the groups muyahadines Between the 1980s and 1990s, women again suffered a significant reduction in their rights. Finally, in 1996, when Hekmatyar joins the Islamic State of Afghanistan As Prime Minister, women suffered all kinds of humiliation and violations of their human rights.

During the known as’reign of terror‘the women suffered a de facto house arrest. They were forbidden to work, they could not associate with men other than their husband or father and they could not be seen in public, so they had to go out with a full burqa, and always with a male. They were also unable to study or work and were even prohibited from being explored by a doctor.

Burqa Women in Afghanistan (1996)
Burqa Women in Afghanistan (1996)

Taliban law, the ‘sharia‘In addition, it imposed serious punishments on all those women who broke some of the rules to which they were subjected. Thus, all those who were found guilty of adultery suffered stoning, those who had painted nails lost their fingers and those who showed interest in studying received beatings.

In 2001, when the OTAN occupying Afghanistan after the 2001 attacks in the United States, women are beginning to regain certain rights. However, in 2012, President Karzai approved a ‘code of conduct‘in which it was established that’ women should not travel without a male guardian and should not mix with strange men in places such as schools, markets and offices’.

Thus, Afghan law does not contemplate gender equality and organizations that protect human rights, such as Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International, have expressed concern about the rights of women and girls in the country. In fact, the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security includes Afghanistan among countries more unsafe for women in their analysis of the year 2019/2020.

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