Why Promoting Women’s Rights is Integral to Afghan Development

Continued neglect of economic and civil rights as well as the cultural and economic repression of women will “condemn” Afghanistan to poverty, underdevelopment and deep social dysfunction,” the Observer says in an editorial piece.

“Those conditions, more than religious tradition, are what make the country a breeding ground for terrorist ideology,” the newspaper says. “In other words, the issue of women’s equality and political freedom is not peripheral to the security objective of preventing terrorists operating inside Afghanistan. It is absolutely central.”

The editorial outlines various atrocities committed against women in Afghanistan, both by militant groups and certain policies of the government. Women are routinely victimized in various parts of Afghanistan where religious fanaticism is strong, it says.

The Observer also notes that the U.S. and U.K. governments are redefining and downgrading measures of success in their war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. These governments are keen to produce a definition of success “to encompass anything that looks like stability after withdrawal.”

The publication says Western governments are seeking arrangements that will allow for troop withdrawal while leaving Afghanistan “vaguely stable and not overrun by al-Qaida.” The editorial says it recognizes that such arrangements are necessary to achieve any form of stability, but it puts out a warning:

“It will not be easy to build real commitment to human rights into that settlement. But failure to do so after so many years and so much blood spilled would surely be a most humiliating and dangerous defeat.”

About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.