As you might know from watching any news outlet lately, American Troops have pulled out of Afghanistan. There are so many different opinions about what is currently happening and how it is being executed. All the current focus is on the troops pulling out, and what Biden has to say about the whole issue. But what about the people of Afghanistan? Women? Children? People part of the LGBTQ+ community? What effect is this having on all the citizens of Afghanistan?
Here in the United States the LGBTQ+ community has gained more and more support over the years, with same sex marriage being legalized in 2015. Six years later you see the community being supported more and more, with protest for Transgender rights, allies going to Pride and so much more. However, in Afghanistan that is not the case. In a interview from the BBC, a college student from Kabul was quoted saying, “I could be killed on the spot.” Even before the United States withdrew from his country it was very dangerous to mention a person sexuality to anyone. Under Afghan law you could be taken to court for your sexuality. You didn’t have that high of a danger level of death before the Taliban retook control. Under Taliban rule it is stated that homosexuality is strictly prohibited and is punishable by death. Being part of the LGBTQ+ community in Afghanistan can be dangerous in general. You are risking so much by saying anything to your friends or family.
In the interview the BBC conducted with Adbul (the college student), he talks about how he hasn’t left his house in days because the Taliban is right outside his door. He like many Afghans are frightened by the Taliban and how they could kill them for any minor inconvenience. He tells the BBC that being coped up in his house for so many days has led to serve depression. He said, “I have thoughts to just finish this thing. I don’t want to live this kind of life.” The people apart of the LGBTQ+ community are truly struggling with the Taliban rule. There seems to be very little the United States is doing to help the effort of protecting these people. However, there are many charity programs (being outsourced through the UK) that are calling on the government (UK) to help the LGBTQ+ Afghans to live a safe life.
This past May I authored an article about the possibilities women’s rights might have if the Taliban retook control. I predicated that woman would have little to no rights at all, and I was very correct in that sense. Since, the Taliban retook control women lost all the rights that had (which in fact was few). The fear has been reinstated into all woman and girls in the country. They cannot leave the house without a male figure and have more rules to follow in their already strict society. According to Humans’ Right Watch, the Taliban tweeted that they pledge to allow girls and woman to study and work in whatever Islam allows. However, many people are very skeptical of what the Taliban is starting to do. Women’s rights are very fragile now and will possibly cease to exist within the next few years or even months.
With the Taliban regaining control of Afghanistan, it has prompted the closures of schools, movement restrictions, as well as forcing women to leave their jobs. Previously when the Taliban was in control woman were not permitted to leave their homes without a male relative, as well as education being banned for all women. Personally, I believe that there is a sense of hierarchy in the Afghan culture which the Taliban is imposing. The Taliban basically rule all, with men following behind, and woman being at the bottom of any social pyramid. According to Human Rights Watch, the Taliban spokesman exclaimed that they would continue to pledge respect for women’s rights. From 2001-2021 woman have enjoyed some measurable freedoms that was allowed with the Taliban rule. However, after 20 years of suffrage they are back to something worse than before. What hope do these women have after being abandoned? Little to none I would expect since they are back to living in the shadow of the men whole control their life.
Afghanistan is continuing to go through major power changes as the Taliban regains control. There are so many unknown outcomes to the LGBTQ+ community, as well as women. LHS senior Meghan Degrandpre she commented, “I hope for the best in this country, and wish there was more we could have done. My heart hurts for all the people over there suffering.” Hopefully, over time things with progress however, it is very doubtful.