The reason I chose to concentrate my study on the women of Afghanistan is after I saw a picture of a young Afghan woman on the cover of Time magazine. The name of the article was “What Happens If We Leave Afghanistan”. When reading the story, I found out that she was forced married at 18 years old to a man much older than her and continually struggled to get accepted into his family. She repeatedly suffered abuse from her in-laws and her husband as well. When she could no longer endure that life, she made an unsuccessful attempt to run away, but unfortunately was caught. Perceiving her actions as a dishonor to the family, her husband cut her nose and ears off, thus teaching her a lesson and leaving her with a disfigured and frightening looking face. The author points out that this particular incident did not happen during the Taliban, but actually occurred in 2010. How many atrocities like that happen daily without getting any attention?
The United States annually provides billions of dollars to assist Afghanistan with rebuilding and development. Can this rebuilding and development actually happen when half of the Afghan population has no rights and no voice in the nation’s political, social and economic spheres?
In order to narrow down my research, I decided to focus on the Bush Administration with the goal to recognize their policies that were designed to specifically help the women of Afghanistan. I intend to analyze these policies in order to see if they were or are successful or not. At first I want to understand the anthropological issues that undermine women’s status in Afghanistan. As I become sufficiently knowledgeable on the subject, I will be able to see if Bush Administration considered those issues when legislating their policies.
Despite the significant improvement in women’s conditions that has been made, much work remains, as the abuse of women is endemic throughout the country. As the world’s champion of human rights, the US must do more to remedy the situation. Afghanistan will never be able to develop fully while half of its population is incapacitated. The active role of women will also provide for a greater productivity potential for Afghanistan. The main challenge for any administration is the ability to reach women in the rural areas away from the modernized capital of Kabul. It is difficult to open the veil that will give women basic human rights deep in the mountains of Afghanistan where most of the atrocities happen.