Sunday, June 21, 2009

'People were 100% happier under Taliban'

An increasingly unpopular occupation takes its toll:

Weak become ever more vulnerable
Chris Sands - Foreign Correspondent, The National (UAE)
June 17, 2009

... for men and women in Jowzjan, the past eight years have also ushered in a period of criminality and fear. The powerful now do whatever they want, whether it is inside or outside the home.

Maghferat Samimi runs the [Afghanistan Human Rights Organisation's] regional office in Sheberghan. She keeps a photo album containing an image of a naked young body, burnt to the colour pink. Elsewhere, infant boys and girls stare blankly out from the pages – each one a rape victim. They are just some of the cases she has investigated.

“It’s getting worse because there is no law. There are rules, but no one is following them,” she said.

According to Mrs Samimi, the most significant impact of the US-led invasion has been a rise in violent crime because the perpetrators know they have a good chance of getting away with almost any offence. The social restrictions imposed upon women have also continued, albeit largely unofficially.

“People were 100 per cent happier under the Taliban. OK there was some fighting and people were poor, but they accepted the law,” she said.

Another case shuffled quietly into the office. Taj Niaz was 12 when she married a man in his forties. Now 20, she has spent the past five years unsuccessfully trying to divorce her physically abusive husband...

Later, her mother Rahima added that life had been safer for women under the Taliban because they could at least go out after dark in those days...

Jowzjan and its neighbouring provinces are relatively stable compared to much of the country, but people’s anger is clearly growing and unrest is spreading as a result. That the international community and the Afghan government is losing support far away from the Taliban’s heartlands should serve as a stark warning for the future... (link)

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