Like other Afghan women, my entire life has been shaped by one conflict after another. Born on the eve of the Saur Revolution, I lived through the Soviet invasion, the Civil War, and the Taliban’s 1990s rule. Until the intervention, each chapter that unfolded was heartbreak anew. The revival of democracy and freedom brought hope. The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in 2021 was even more painful and shocking than anything before because it shattered an era that had been characterized by so much progress. Amid all this turmoil, another battle has been taking place: the long and bitter struggle of Afghan women attempting to claim and retain their place in society.
After the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, many have settled with calling it a failed attempt, or a good enough security and political outcome. In addition, there is a state of policy paralysis concerning the protection and liberation of Afghan women, who face imprisonment merely for being born female. While giving up may appear to be the easiest option in immediate term, it is not a luxury that all of us can afford. This is not only about the lives of millions of people residing in Afghanistan, but also potential security and economic consequences for the rest of the region and the world at large.
The solution can be found through innovative policies and practical approaches. It is not about spending more, it is about spending well. It is about capitalizing on the 20 years of investment for long-term goals, and it is about winning it before it is too late.
I hope to provoke ideas and action so that we do not fail by giving up, hence my piece at the Atlantic Council. To read the full piece, please click here.