Dismantling the Female Narrative

Fawzia Kofi

For the first time, women are not only participating in, but leading justice and liberation movements. Throughout Afghan history, women have stood alongside men in advocating for liberation. The emergence of the women‘s movement has been a surprise to those who did not accept the recent political changes, as the patriarchal culture of the past has kept women‘s key roles and struggles hidden. This generation of women is the product of the democratic mindset of the last twenty years, and they are now leading exemplary and undeniable forms of movement against the Taliban regime. This movement has acted as a tool for international recognition of the Taliban, while also highlighting the dire situation of Afghanistan in a prominent way. These achievements cannot be ignored, and no group or country can ignore them, just as the Taliban‘s dictatorship could not prevent women from demanding their rights.

Considering that Afghan women were victims of traditional thinking and violence across the country even before the Taliban regime, it is clear that the Taliban‘s rule is not without suppressing and depriving women. Therefore, women must protest against the policy of removing, limiting, and oppressing them at every level. They still have a long way to go to gain control of civil and legal discourse. In my opinion, the women‘s narrative and the Afghan women‘s movement includes all groups, incidents, figures, and parties that emphasize the urgent need for human rights and women‘s demands against the Taliban group and the patriarchal culture in general. I want to emphasize that from the very beginning, I have always discussed the issue of women‘s rights in my country in all conversations and interactions with the Taliban group, whether during the peace negotiations or after the Taliban takeover. This issue remains an important global issue. In the women‘s narrative and the women‘s movement, several men have stood alongside women, fighting for an ideal society that cannot be overlooked. Even today, these joint efforts for human values continue.

Despite all of this, there are still many obstacles in the way of women‘s demonstrations and their ability to tell the story of the general situation in Afghanistan. I will discuss these below. I am confident that the Taliban will soon be overthrown, allowing women to have a meaningful presence in all fields with their skills and qualifications. From now on, women cannot be ignored, so it would not be surprising if they confront the most extreme groups and politics.

As someone who has represented Afghanistan in various meetings, circles, and conferences related to Afghanistan, and who will continue to do so, I have always tried to speak on behalf of Afghan women as a whole and to raise their voices wherever and whenever possible. During this time, I have realized that, in addition to other challenges, Afghan women are also dealing with intragroup and intraorganizational issues. These problems are not exclusive to the women‘s movement, as all movements face such obstacles. Although these challenges may not be very prominent, they can lead to women engaging in confrontations and interactions over minor issues which are not the main concerns of the Afghan women‘s society. It is clear that, consciously or unconsciously, some people are using the guise of women‘s liberation to fight for the victory of their enemies. It may seem as if they are hired to harm the Afghan women‘s narrative and movement, but I am sure that we all understand that it is time to choose one war among various battles. It is time for us all to take more responsibility for the issues that affect us. Given that the Taliban have started a war against women, we have no chance of avoiding the many conflicts that will arise. Meanwhile, the Taliban and their external allies are trying to portray the situation of women in a way that suggests there is disagreement among them, claiming that women are using these movements to gain advantages in immigration and refugee cases. Raising these arguments is a tactic used by the Taliban and their supporters to try and destroy the women‘s movement. But do those who question and act as a tool to dismantle the women‘s narrative know what they are doing? If they are aware of their actions, they should think twice about silencing people’s voices.

In the past few years, we have seen various political and civil movements come and go for different reasons, eventually falling apart before they can reach their goals. Women‘s rights have been particularly hardfought, with a powerful and determined enemy standing in their way. The only thing that unites women is the shared enemy that has declared war against them.

Despite the increasing oppression of women on a daily basis, the Taliban have been using women‘s issues as a tool in international meetings and gatherings. The Taliban are aware that their actions towards Afghan women have no basis in any religion or school of thought, but are instead motivated by a desire for power and control. In the past, women had no role in political movements, but now the Taliban are using women‘s issues to gain legitimacy. Therefore, it is important for women to come together and use their collective power to fight against the Taliban by focusing on issues related to them.

Overall, I must admit that we must break away from the mindset that supports the Taliban and destroy the female narrative. I am not suggesting that people with different opinions should be silenced. I do not want to have unhealthy, false, and destructive criticism when it comes to improving the situation and developing the women‘s narrative and their movement. Constructive criticism is essential for progress in any society, but when we see that the major conspiracy and refusal to listen to the demands of women is a sign of other women, we cannot ignore this. We should not be aiding the enemy by providing them with ammunition and fighting in their trenches.