Despite the world’s varied and two-faced policies towards the Taliban and their actions in Afghanistan, there is no ambiguity about the gender apartheid regime of this group, and few can ignore it. This issue is so unacceptable in today’s world that even the most staunch supporters of this group cannot justify it. The discriminatory and oppressive treatment of women by the Taliban has been a source of protest and anger against this group for a long time. In the latest case, these protests reverberated in the corridors of the United Nations, emphasizing the necessity of combating this oppressive policy that has targeted millions of the most vulnerable members of society.
Civil protests are necessary but not sufficient. Repressive groups do not yield to civil protests alone. History bears witness to this reality, especially authoritarian regimes that have subdued people through the use of force and violence are neither familiar with nor prioritize civil protests.
This does not mean that protests should not happen; rather, it means that the scope of protests should be broader, their methods more diverse, and, most importantly, they should lead to solutions for change. Just as the Taliban have targeted the most vulnerable segment of society, protests should aim at the most vulnerable aspect of the Taliban’s work. The Taliban do not prioritize public consent or international legitimacy. What matters to this group is the money and benefits they derive from current conditions. Protests should target the vital lifeline of this group, and that is a draft resolution at the United Nations for financial sanctions against this group. No funding should be provided to a regime that systematically suppresses its citizens and violates all international conventions on human rights and women’s rights. No sums of money should be given to enable it to further oppress and torture people and act with greater impunity. The more money given to this group, the more it encourages their oppression.
The people of Afghanistan are asking, “What wrong have we done to countries that send money to suppress us?” This question should be raised by the oppressed people of Afghanistan in United Nations meetings and countries with resources should be called upon to respond. If protests are not targeted and precise, and if they result in nothing more than issuing dry and empty statements that offer only a few general sentences about the dissatisfaction with the situation of Afghan women and the condemnation of these actions, they will have little effect and will not alleviate the suffering of the millions of Afghan women trapped in bondage.