Rural Afghan Women Speak, Bleeding-Heart Warmongers Can’t Hear

This past month, an article was published in The New Yorker called “The Other Afghan Women.” The author, Anand Gopal, goes to rural parts of Afghanistan, specifically in Helmand province, to speak to women and understand their experiences of the wars they’ve lived through.

What the article demonstrates is the stark difference between the narrative of the news and the actual opinion and experiences of Afghan women in the countryside, where this war was largely fought. They and their families are some of the greatest victims of this twenty-year US venture.

The women interviewed describe their experiences and from that evaluate the differing political realities they have experienced, concluding from there what was good and what wasn’t. Their views were formed not from quixotic ideals and empty speech but from what they have lived. Gopal writes:

“When I asked Shakira and other women from the valley [in Helmand] to reflect on Taliban rule, they were unwilling to judge the movement against some universal standard—only against what had come before.”[1]

Shakira simply stated which governing body provided her with the most safety and ability to lead a relatively normal life.

Life Under Taliban Rule

When the women compared Taliban rule to their lives under post-Soviet but pre-Taliban rule and American-sponsored rule, they described the Taliban as “softer” and said: “They were dealing with us respectfully.”[2]

In both post-Soviet, pre-Taliban life, and American-sponsored rule, the same man, Amir Dado wreaked havoc on Shakira’s village. The Taliban had kicked him out, and the Americans brought him back.

RELATED: Dalia Mogahed vs. The Taliban: Who Understands Islam Better?

This point seems forever lost on the belligerents of this war, in large part because it doesn’t suit their interests. But let’s put it out there anyway—going by the testimony of women who lived under war, the very group that Bush, et al., were crying to the public over.

What’s more, the warlords these women lived in fear of were the very ones funded and propped up by the US.

Building the Fight: When the Poor Do Not Suffice

To Shakira, what she disliked about Taliban rule, according to her, was that when recruiting soldiers, the rich could pay to be exempt from service, so poor people were the most likely to be recruited.[3]

It’s worth noting this is not particularly unique to the Taliban.

In the same issue of The New Yorker, in an article entitled “War with a Human Face,” which is a review of recent books analyzing modern US war tactics, the author notes:

The US military “is popular despite (or because of) the fact that, without a draft, only a tiny percentage of Americans will ever be part of it; the ones who do join are disproportionately from working-class families. In recent years, the number of private contractors killed in American wars has begun to exceed the number of those killed in uniform.[4]

This is also likely the case in Afghanistan, where it’s estimated that more private military contractors have died than US troops.

We could venture to say around the world, it’s often the impoverished who choose the military track, as it seems to provide a way out of that poverty. So in the US, alongside clear strategies to recruit the poor, the government needs to supplement through private contractors. Described well by a representative from Veterans for Peace:

“There is always enough money for more weapons and jails, and never enough for education and the poor,” he said. “Instead of this money going to healthcare and education for our citizens who so desperately need it, it goes toward padding the pockets of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and the list goes on and on.”

Companies like Blackwater (now called Academi) and Raytheon have been critical in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Put another way, they and local warlords like Amir Dado whom the US hired for the capabilities that helped make possible the prolonging of a war that has killed of so many Afghan civilians.

Even though the US has pulled out, questions remain as to what happens to the almost $1 billion in defense contracts the US government had arranged, contracts that would run past the withdrawal date. Last we heard, Blackwater/Academi was charging $6,500 per head to Afghans wanting to flee the country they helped destroy.

RELATED: [WATCH] 20 Years in Afghanistan: The Untold (and Horrific) Story

Living in Fear

Shakira recalled one of her first experiences with life under Amir Dado, not long after the Soviet withdraw in 1989. His gunmen ransacked her family’s living room while she crouched down in fear in a corner. They had come some weeks earlier to her area, going from house to house and demanding a “’tax’ and searching homes.”[5]

After the Taliban took control in 1996 and forced Dado and people like him out of power, Shakira’s next meeting with Dado would be one night in 2003:

“Shakira was jolted awake by the voices of strange men. She rushed to cover herself. When she ran to the living room, she saw, with panic, the muzzles of rifles being pointed at her. The men were larger than she’d ever seen…These are Americans, she realized, in awe. Some Afghans were with them…A man with an enormous beard was barking orders: Amir Dado.”[6]

These were some of the people working with the US, helping them, terrorizing their countrymen.

Here’s one example of how they terrorized:

“Once, his [Dado’s] young fighters demanded that two young men either pay tax or join his private militia, which he maintained despite holding his official post [with the US as chief of intelligence for Helmand Province]. When they refused, his fighters beat them to death, stringing their bodies up from a tree. A villager recalled, ‘we cut them down, and they had been sliced open, their stomachs coming out.’”[7]

Again, these were the people supporting the US’s work in Afghanistan. You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried.

In a few quick paragraphs, the author documents eight members of Shakira’s family who died basically because they were caught in the crossfires of this war. That’s only a few of the people she lost.

This is the legacy the US leaves; civilians killed and inevitably forgotten even by the best estimates of the number of casualties of this war. Gopnal describes this poignantly:

“The vast majority of incidents involved one or two deaths—anonymous lives that were never reported on, never recorded by official organizations, and therefore never counted as part of the war’s civilian toll.”[8]

“Entire branches of Shakira’s family tree…vanished.”[9] It seems almost certain they’ve never even appeared in the minds of many of the politicians who helped make this war possible.

The author noted that the level of loss felt in the countryside was largely unlike what was felt in Kabul, “where citizens enjoyed relative security.”[10]

Even when the Taliban were willing to make a peace deal in 2010 (proposed by NATO), agreeing to switch sides in exchange for help to local communities in Sangin (in Helmand), U.S. Special Operation Forces bombed the meeting and killed the Taliban member who was supporting the agreement.[11]

All of this, and the US still lost its twenty-year war.

When the Losers Always Win

The amount and level of carnage the author documents are somehow unfathomable. From being killed while having breakfast in a field to being struck dead while sitting inside one’s home, the people of the countryside seemed to not stand a chance to simply survive, and they never even asked for war, nor did they provoke it.

To the women interviewed, things weren’t perfect under the Taliban but, there was no question that they could by and large live their lives and be treated decently, in a security simply not present during the US’s war.[12]

What many of them implied was the way forward was embracing their faith, Islam. Shakira—who fully embraces the Islamic teaching that men and women are not equal, and each have their respective roles—taught herself to read and was reading the Quran in Pashto. She hopes there could be a girls’ school in her village.[13]

So sure, there are some concerns they have,[14] but they can analyze their situation with an acuity that outsiders often cannot, and certainly in a way that many of the politicians who largely caused their problems stubbornly will not. They understand what force has destroyed their lives and killed so many of their loved ones.

RELATED: Suddenly Enraged About “Atrocities” in Afghanistan? Where You Been the Past 20 Years?

The sheer loss, the nightmare these women and their families lived, continues to haunt them.

It’s quite remarkable that a losing team continues to be able to wage wars basically whenever, wherever it wants.

As pointed out in “War with a Human Face,” the US military has not won a major war since World War Two.[15] Nonetheless, its position at home and abroad is unmatched. It has military outposts around the globe; it says “war,” and most of its satellites like the UK and the EU follow.

If this keeps up, we’ll likely only hear of more horror stories from those who manage to survive. A`udhu billah.

What’s at Stake Now

It’s important to connect the dots—twenty-years of war, regime changes, general political and economic instability—all of these add up to serious day-to-day problems for civilians.

With all the headlines regarding concerns for Afghan women, the most pressing problem at the moment appears not to be women’s education or rights. It is widespread hunger for all Afghans, caused by a combination of frozen assets abroad and international sanctions on Afghanistan, drought, and general disruptions in the economy like the flow of goods.

This is an acute problem that should be a serious concern for the Ummah. Why? It’s estimated that around one-third of Afghanistan’s 33 million are suffering from “imminent hunger.” Add to that the collapse of the health care system, which was propped up by foreign aid.

In Shakira’s own province of Helmand, it’s reported that medical facilities lack basic equipment, supplies, and medication.

The situation is so dire that some have resorted to selling their children to try to survive. Worded well by a BBC reporter in this video correspondence, Afghans “cannot wait while the world debates whether or not to accept a Taliban government.” Steps need to be quickly made to at least provide relief to these people and save innocent lives.

May Allah keep them strong in their faith; may we not forget them.

Notes

  1. September 13 issue of print publication, p.38.
  2. Ibid., p.38,
  3. Ibid., p. 39.
  4. Filkins, Dexter, September 13 issue of print publication, p.72.
  5. Gopal, Anand, September 13 issue of print publication, p.38.
  6. Ibid., p.39.
  7. Ibid., p.39-40.
  8. Ibid., p.43.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Ibid., p.44,
  12. Ibid., p. 47.
  13. Ibid., p. 47.
  14. Another concern expressed by one interviewed was wanting to be able to go to the market. The author reports that there was a recent incident in which one woman, her husband, and the shopkeeper were beaten by the Taliban because the woman went to buy cookies for her kids there. Ibid., p.45.
  15. Filkins, Dexter, September 13 issue of print publication, p.72.
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DR. Z

Where are seudo muslim countries OR colonial pet muslim regimes AND colonial pet pig (UN)??????????????????????

nima

as afghan i love those whom have bringed in here islamic laws
and my mother and brother and many other love them

its just sad so many guys say 90% of afghans don’t want them or there nonsense
a lot of us want them here

Slave

These pieces of garbage are doing a genocide against the Afghan people by starving them with sanctions, they did the same thing against Iraq in the 90s, these same people also did the same thing to the Ukrainians in the 1930s with the Holodomor.

Also, 9/11, which was the reason for the invasion, there are lots of funny things about it, like the dancing Israelis, building 7 not falling despite no plane hitting it, lucky Larry Silverstein, a man who could barely fly a Cessna being able to hit the Pentagon like that, it being physically impossible for the 2 buildings to be brought down like that by being hit only by planes. a bunch of Mossad agents being in New York at the time including those dancing Israelis with truck bombs and what not.

These people who invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, they are genocidal maniacs who don’t give a crap about muslims, they just care about their geo-political interests, even if it costs millions of innocent lives.

May Allah protect the Muslims of Afghanistan from these evil kuffar.

Abdulrahman

Great work

galileo2333

The center focus of any jihad should be against feminism. In today’s conditions the biggest objective of the Islamic war effort should be to remove women from power and overthrow feminist institutions worldwide.