The documentary "Afghanistan: lifting the veil" broadcast at the weekend on CNN, showed that after the supposed "liberation" of Afghanistan in 2001 (George Bush: "The American flag flies again over our embassy in Kabul. The mothers and daughters of Afghanistan were captives in their own homes. Today women are free."), life for women has changed little. (Partial transcript here.)
The fundamentalists are apparently still in charge, and simply ignore the constitution, which states that men and women are equal. Women are still obliged to wear burqas by male members of their family. Women were shown begging in the street and receiving nothing but derision and contempt from male passers by. A group of young male teachers said that they would want to keep their wives under lock and key: if they let them out at all, they would have to wear a burqa. They described the female Afghan interviewer, who was dressed in long baggy clothing and a headscarf, as too "tempting" because she wasn't sufficiently covered up. There were very few women in the street, and the journalist said she found the atmosphere oppressive. She also interviewed several young women who had set themselves on fire because of domestic violence, including a 14-year old girl, sold into marriage at the age of seven. The only positive report in the documentary was a village school were young girls were receiving schooling alongside boys, and one of the village elders said that he wanted his youngest daughter to have an education.
It was pretty sickening. It's unbelievable not only that a country where women were once reasonably free has deteriorated to this extent but that any human society, which obviously depends on the presence of women to continue to survive, can get to a stage where the men have so much hatred and contempt for the women. What is the explanation for this?
If this is still the situation 6 years on from the "liberation", what does that say about the western efforts to help rebuild the country?