Afghanistan, a country seen as a visual for terrorism and poverty in the Western World, has gone through its fair share of development since the rise and fall of the Taliban. This country continues to sink deep into poverty due to personal country conflicts and dependence on foreign assistance for survival. Through more liberal ideals and being more open to the ideas of giving voices to women and those oppressed that are fighting to seek change in Afghanistan, the power of the people and foreign affairs may present Afghan citizens with a route that ends the fortified patriarchal structure and dismantle the apparent and dangerous gender inequality present in this low-developing country. It paves the way for social justice to a country that is in desperate need of support and education into self-sufficiency.
Keywords: Afghanistan, poverty, development, gender inequality, social justice
Analysis in Afghanistan Modern Afghanistan started to see an abrupt change when the fundamentalist group called “Taliban” was formed in 1994. (Gascoigne, 2001) This group based their actions and consequences over their interpretation of Islam. Though the strength and the sheer ambition of the Taliban near its creation may have been an attractive new ideal for Afghanizations citizens and neighboring refugees, it came with a cost that drew a line and created a devastating and corruptive gap between the genders and silenced the voice of many women as a very strict implication of Islamic law became a reality. In 2001, with American interference the Taliban had surrendered, and the discontinuation of their extremist ideals can be celebrated but does not ensure change to a country of poverty into a nation of secure politics.
After the end of the Taliban, a new form of government was a necessity. With the help of the United Nations assisted Afghanistan in creating the foundations of a new government. After a few years of provisional governments and interim presidents, 2004 began with a new change to how Afghanistan would run their country with an idea to form a constitution. It was then approved in January and stated that modern Afghanistan would function as Islamic Republic. (“Afghanistan Government”, 2007) They are a bicameral legislature that includes The House of People and The House of Elders. The way they separate their government holds its similarities to the United States by dividing into three branches: executive, judicial, and legislative. Political Economy Its political economy is heavily reliant on international foreign assistance. Afghanistan’s survival could be held in the hands of international aid, where more than 90% percent of their budget comes from donations from other countries. (Rubin, 2011).
On the other end of the spectrum, it’s revenue can be condensed to a majority of civilian spending and American Military consumerism. Another angle in which to look at the poverty of Afghanistan is to look at its Geography. It is a landlocked country, which means most if not all of its area is surrounded by the land of other countries, giving no access to coastlines or seas. Being a landlocked country comes with its own set of challenges, which are not limited to relations to neighboring countries including imports and exports of goods. (Faye, MacArthur & Sachs, 2011) The economy of a landlocked country is more than just their distance to the nearest ocean, but rather the efficiency of other countries preforming the jobs that they cannot do. In detail, the transportation neighboring countries provides ways to get the landlocked countries resources out to seas for further exports.
A simple disagreement can cause conflict and disbandment of other countries participating in transportation of said countries goods, causing a devastating dip in the development of their economy, and lasting conflicts can turn into economic turmoil. Socio-Economic Status Unemployment is at a staggering high in Afghanistan, in which almost a quarter of their citizens are unemployed. With such a high unemployment rate, is not a surprise that fifty-four percent of the country is living under the poverty line. (“The World Factbook”, 2018)
Their poverty is a reason why their educational level is so low, with only thirty-eight percent of the population being able to read and write over the age of fifteen, according to The World Factbook. Their illiteracy rates can also be explained due to the young age in which children drop out of school. Children are leaving school at the average age of eleven, much lower than many countries in the world. Life expectancy and Infant Mortality rate are at a depressing low and high respectively, decreasing quality of life and health of the country. The World Factbook states that the average induvial lives to be about fifty years old in Afghanistan, making it the third lowest country in the world. Infant Mortality in Afghanistan is the highest of any other country in the world, making it one-hundred and ten deaths to every one-thousand live births, making the chance of infant deaths under the age of one to an alarming ten percent.
The rights of women in Afghanistan have improved since the ruling of the Taliban group, but have yet to compare to the freedoms presented to women in the Western World, especially in the United States. It can be said that the Islamic Republic government has helped push the basis of giving Afghanistan women back their basic rights, women themselves and their ambition to create successful feminism has given them a voice into politics in which would have been unheard of during the days of strict Taliban rule.
Women are still facing many difficulties and are rarely given the opportunity to voice their opinions and stand up for themselves in the fight for gender equality. Extremists force women to stay in their house and cannot leave without a male escort will being fully covered up by a burqa, even though it is not a law anymore. (“Afghan Women”, 2015) This causes many women to feel isolated. It causes women to fear being abused or killed if they do not follow the orders of these dangerous extremists. In terms of education, due to such a low dropout rate for most children in school, Afghan women are forced into housework at a young age. The rise of feminism however is slowly allowing change to happen, giving women a dream that they can one day not be abused, suffer domestic violence, have political freedom and fight for basic human rights.
To propose a strategy, we must first understand the underlying problem. The problem in turn can be vaguely condensed to Afghanistan: their poverty and their gender inequality. Through the creation of a policy strategy we can set goals that we would like to achieve regarding fixing these issues and move towards plans to implement them into the struggling country. The process of implementing these strategies will allow human rights activists and countries to pave a route to achieving social justice. Education is very important to not only the economy of a country, but also to the social freedom of its citizens, especially those of women. Offering higher education to women and pushing for the necessity to educate them breaks the cycle of their feeling of isolation, and allows them to think freely for themselves, and can raise the standards for women in Afghanistan.
Lastly, international assistance in Afghanistan to assist with its development certainly has the chance to be successful. The United may be able to spread ideals and values of women and their freedom through choice and example. Through force only causes anger and conflict, but rather examples of development and more secure political future through the assistance of women closing the gap of gender inequality will allow the idea of giving women more power more of an attractive idea without worrying about not staying true to their interpretation of Islam law as well as the rules and teachings one should abide in the Qur’an. Example by choice allows those implanting change to be self-sustaining. Self-sustainment allows for the motivation of people to preform and work towards political change through their own independent.
Poverty and the lack of women’s rights is still at the forefront of Afghanistan, but after escaping extremist rule of the Taliban, Afghanistan can be given the opportunity to flourish with the implications of political strategies that support the development of the country as well as basic human rights for women through the growing wave of feminism. Political strategies include raising importance of further education of women to tertiary or higher-level education as well as foreign assistance to execute western ideas by choice to encourage self-sustainment, free thinking, and independence. With the hope of political strategies such as these being put into effect, Afghanistan citizens can turn their dreams of a better and more secure political future into a reality and break away from the devastating effects of poverty and gender abuse.
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