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A statement from 8 March women’s Organisation in Afghanistan

The misogynistic Taliban and the waves of arresting women for refusing to wear compulsory hijab!

The Islamic Emirate of Taliban has issued a series of government decrees in Afghanistan, including an order to arrest and imprison women who refuse to wear compulsory veil. Since a week ago, number of women have been threatened, arrested and transferred to prisons in military trucks from provinces of Ghazni, Kabul (specifically Dasht-Barchi, Pol-e-Sorkh, and Khairkhane).

In the name of” women, revolution, liberation” where the nature of liberation of women from claws of patriarchal and misogynistic governments depends on it!

The western imperialist aggression and military occupation of Afghanistan and its colonial rule has always historically been through supporting various forms of governance ranging from jihadist to republican and Taliban-led Islamists in Afghanistan. These governments have wielded their pillars and foundations of their dominance and strength through the imposition of compulsory hijab over women’s bodies, not solely as a mere covering requirement but more importantly as a symbolic representation of their religious and divine ideologies to society and to the world. The imposition of compulsory hijab goes beyond its literal meaning; it serves as a flag and an emblem used by Islamic governments to assert control over womenʼs bodies and consequently shaping their individual and social destinies.

Women over the several decades of Islamic rules, have plunged into a profound and historic regressive decline, stripped entirely of their rights and dignity as a human being and have also been reduced to the status of commodities and properties of the patriarchal, tribal, national, religious and governmental ʼhonour. ʼThe Talibanʼs ongoing chain of arrests, targeting women who defy Islamic hijab exemplifies this oppressive reality even further. Therefore, it is our organisational duty and responsibility to shed light on these ongoing events and facts. First, the systemic oppression based on gender and other identities is deeply rooted within the class structure. Until this system is dismantled, any form of government will perpetuate such oppression. As long as gender oppression exists, whether in its” light” or harsh forms, it’s most extreme manifestations could undoubtably be observed under theocratic and religious governments such as the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Emirate of Taliban.

Secondly, apart from the fact that the religious governments are carriers of gender oppression and that is due to their ideological nature, it is crucial not to overlook the substantial investments amounting to billions of dollars by the imperialists with the aim of perpetuating and nurturing these governments in serving their occupation and colonization agendas and interests. These activities are carried out under the pretext of utopian human values such as women and children’s rights, freedom of expression, and the fight against terrorism.

Thirdly; as the United Nations are the gathering point of these imperialists who support terrorist groups, it can never be the solution in terminating the stronghold of Islamic governments such as the Taliban, ISIS and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The history of activities of this institution is nothing but issuing empty statements, condemnations, being worried about and statistical numbers and nothing beyond.

Despite all these, many defenders of womenʼs rights and non-revolutionary womenʼs movements in Afghanistan are still turning to the United Nations for assistance in saving women. They continue to hope for the salvation of women under the auspices of this organisation and with the same logic, the Afghanistan Peace and Democracy Center on its X(Twitter)channel announced that Afghanistan requires a more robust United Nations presence due to the unprecedented violation of womenʼs and girlsʼ rights by the Taliban.

To begin with, it is important to note that this centre perpetuates gender stereotypes by promoting the concept of virginity and by using the misogynistic term ʼgirlʼ for young and adolescent women. The term ʼgirlʼ should logically denote the relationship of a female child with her parents and should not extend beyond that. Moreover, the center refers to females as “woman” only if they are married and have lost their virginity.

Furthermore, this centre comprises individuals such as Fawzia Kofi, who played a pivotal role in the Doha peace process and also in the negotiations of handing over Afghanistan to Taliban rule. Together with the United Nations, she contributed to fostering a passive public attitude towards the Talibanʼs return. Now, by raising such demands, they are effectively manipulating public perception to obscure the United Nationsʼ crucial role and the institutionʼs involvement in the resurgence of the Taliban.

 Among the informed circles of Afghanistan women, it is evident that the women representatives of the United Nations in Kabul and in the West wear mandatory hijabs in compliance with the Taliban code of conduct, not because the organisation lacks the strength to stand against the Taliban and therefore their women representatives should not feel compelled to wear veils. But I t is because these actions implies the organizationʼs implicit plan to normalize the misogyny of the Taliban government and” indirectly” exert pressure on Afghanistan women to accept the misogynistic decrees of this government, insinuating that if high-ranking women and Western diplomats have accepted the Talibanʼs mandatory hijab, why shouldnʼt they silently accept it too?

With regard to the pivotal role of the mandatory hijab for the Islamic governmentʼs control over women as well as to recognise that the Taliban is employing brutal methods such as imprisonment, rape, torture, and killing to assert absolute domination over women, undoubtedly propagating gender and class awareness amongst women as well as families remains the sole pathway to break free from these regressive Islamic misogynists. No doubt that this awareness will carry and bear in standing up against and in overthrowing these savage and predatory governments.

Our statement reiterates the call for women to embark on a revolutionary path for the elimination of roots of gender oppression in aligning with independent revolutionary and mass womenʼs organisation. The sooner society comprehends the necessity of revolution, the fewer gender-based sacrifices we will endure.   The struggle for “women, life, freedom “needs to scale the heights and reach the stage of “women, revolution, liberation”! Historical is a living witness that this is the only path to achieve our goals! 

8 January 2024

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