As Ms. Sadid explained, Afghanistan is a multi-lingual and multi-cultural country, making it difficult to precisely define. The Doha Agreement, signed in February 2020, between the United States (US) and the Taliban was to begin with, and in her words, “catastrophic.” The agreement included the release of 5000 Taliban prisoners, and the withdrawal of US forces by May 2021. The Taliban was to cut ties with Al-Qaeda, but this part of the deal as well as others, were not upheld. When the US Forces’ withdrew from Afghanistan in August 2021, the Republic collapsed, with the Taliban returning to power. The media display of the evacuation portrayed the desperateness of thousands of Afghans.
The girls and women remaining today in Afghanistan have no rights – they are not permitted to attend school, work, or go out without the presence of a man, and have become “blue shadows” (referring to the mandatory wearing of the burqa). Some have been publicly executed for “breaking” Shariah Law. Afghan women are trapped in their own country and are an invisible part of society today. The Taliban’s informal slogan throughout Afghanistan is “Women should only be in one of two places – the home or the graveyard.”
Today, life in Afghanistan is a hard existence: poverty, extreme religious fundamentalism, no independent journalists covering the news, and the elimination of women from the social and political picture. The Taliban broke its Doha promise of education for women, and women are told to “send their husbands” to do their jobs – even jobs for which they are not qualified or trained. Afghan women today can be thought of as prisoners of their homes. Ms. Sadid stressed that the world needs to see Afghan women as they are – 21st century slaves. And global attention and action for Afghanistan is needed for the safety of the world, as the Taliban and Al- Qaeda remain potential threats to global safety.
A first step by world leaders would be to demand that the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) be sent to Afghanistan as observers. Currently, it has been estimated that $32- $40M is being provided annually to Afghanistan by the EU and US as humanitarian aid. This support should be conditionally provided based on the improvement of the life, safety, health, work, and education (without Taliban ideology) of Afghan women and girls. Ms. Sadid gave the example that currently in Afghan medical schools, five subjects of the Taliban’s ideology are taught, and children are learning 1+1=2 by using photos of guns. Terrorism is being taught from a young age in schools.