With the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan this week, I ask everyone to take a moment to pray for the Afghan women and girls who will be forced back into the dark ages by the Taliban. Through US efforts, they have been allowed freedoms never experienced, attending school freely, learning to read, realizing professions, and being viable citizens in their country. All that is about to come crashing down.

Here are some things to which the Taliban subject women:

  1. Although the Taliban officially state that they no longer oppose girls’ education, very few Taliban officials actually permit girls to attend school past puberty. Others do not permit girls’ schools at all. 
  2. Women and girls who are victims of domestic violence, registering complaints through the Taliban courts does not offer even the limited possibility for justice that exists in government courts, while mirroring the same deficiencies by requiring women to pursue mediation within the family.
  3. Taliban courts have imposed brutal punishments such as lashing on men and women for so-called moral crimes. These punishments deter women from fleeing abusive situations in the home.
  4. The burqa is not only a physical and psychological burden on some Afghan women, it is a significant economic burden as well. Many women cannot afford the cost of one. In some cases, whole neighborhoods share a single garment, and women must wait days for their turn to go out.
  5. For disabled women who need a prosthesis or other aid to walk, the required wearing of the burqa makes them virtually homebound if they cannot get the burqa over the prosthesis or other aid, or use the device effectively when wearing the burqa.
  6. Restrictions on clothing are matched with other limitations on personal adornment. Makeup and nail polish were prohibited. White socks were also prohibited, as were shoes that make noise as it had been deemed that women should walk silently.
  7. Women are permitted to go out only when accompanied by male relatives or risk Taliban beatings.
  8. The Taliban claim they are trying to ensure a society in which women have a safe and dignified role. But the facts show the opposite. Women are stripped of their dignity under the Taliban. They are unable to support their families.
  9. Girls are deprived of their childhood under a regime that takes away their songs, their dolls, and their stuffed animals — all banned by the Taliban.
  10. Under Taliban rule, women are given only the most rudimentary access to health care and medical care, thereby endangering the health of women, and in turn, their families. In most hospitals, male physicians could only examine a female patient if she were fully clothed, ruling out the possibility of meaningful diagnosis and treatment. These Taliban regulations lead to a lack of adequate medical care for women and contributed to increased suffering and higher mortality rates. Afghanistan has the world’s second worst rate of maternal death during childbirth. About 16 out of every 100 women die giving birth.

[Source: US Dept. of State]

Join me today in praying for these women and girls as Afghan troops are overrun by the Taliban.