Women's Life Conditions Presently and Under Rabbani Regime
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is fully committed to the social, cultural and economic development of women. The government has been able to protect the honor, life and property of Afghan women. Contrary to the situation under the Rabbani regime, women can now be outside their houses safely without the fear of being kidnaped, raped or looted. They no longer fear conditions that were common during the Rabbani regime. According to amnesty international reports of 1992-95, women in Afghanistan bore the brunt of the atrocities by the Rabbani regime and other armed factions. Irresponsible commanders and gunmen not only violated the honor of women by raping them but mutilated women's bodies and in many cases, cut their breasts etc. Similarly, common was murder, torture and execution of our people by the armed factions. Due to the intolerable atrocities, the Taleban Islamic Movement emerged to deliver the defenseless Afghan people from the cruel hands of the warlords. One should ask oneself, is women's freedom to be raped with their breasts cut, or is it to freely live their lives without fear of even comments being made at them.
The former regime that did not serve the country had employed women in a number of sectors without any real need. Some of them were used just for the sexual entertainment of the bureaucracy. Due to the ineffective and immoral institutions, they have temporarily been relieved of their duties. The government pays them their salaries regularly. But women whose work is really needed, are still working in the health, education and security sectors. As conditions in the country improve, so will, doubtlessly, job opportunities for women.
Restoration of Women's Safety, Dignity and Freedom
Being highly concerned about the well-being of its female citizens, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, soon introduced measures to put a stop to the miserable living conditions under which the women lived in Kabul. After the communists took over in Kabul, they began to exploit women for the purpose of advancing their political and social agendas. In spite of war condition in the country and with no work in the offices, the communist regime forced a large number of women to attend government offices only for their amusement.
The Islamic Emirate decided to pay the salaries of these women at their homes, so that they could stay home and take care of their families and children. The purpose of this policy is to help revive the Afghan family and household, as the foundation of the Afghan society, a foundation that was intentionally destroyed by the communist regime.
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is determined to provide educational and employment opportunities for the women of Afghanistan, as soon as the security and financial circumstances under which the Islamic Emirate operates allow such a step to be taken. In the meantime, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will try to acquire the resources and build the facilities that would make the separate education of women possible.
Observance of Islamic Hejab or the Veil
The enforcement of the code of Islamic Hejab by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is fully consistent with the Islamic beliefs of Afghans and the traditions of the Afghan society. Wearing a veil is common among women all over Afghanistan. Islam and Afghan tradition attach the greatest importance to the honor and safety of women in the society.
To comply with the Islamic code of Hejab, as well as to reduce the degree of threat to the personal safety of women, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is asking the women to observe the Islamic Hejab, and cover their faces in public. This is a measure that is undertaken for the simple reason of protecting the honor, dignity, and personal safety of the women in Afghanistan.
Women's Education in the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
Based on the holy teachings of Islam, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan considers education as the pillar of a healthy and prosperous individual and social life. The Islamic Emirate is determined to provide educational opportunities for all Afghans irrespective of gender, race, tribe, language, or regional affiliations.
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan considers education to be obligatory equally for men and women according to the tenets of Islam. This is a clear verdict of our religion. However, currently the country is in shambles, its economic structure destroyed and education facilities turned to rubble like much else in the country. Afghanistan requires appropriate foreign assistance to rebuild every aspect of educational institutions. The present war situation imposed and fueled by foreign powers diverts from Afghanistan's already meager national resources that would be better allocated to opening more schools. Larger and more centrally-run schools in urban areas present the greatest challenge. Secondly, the Afghans do not trust the communist-style curriculum. We have to restore the trust of the common people in government-run education. We also need to compile a new curriculum that will answer to the needs of our society. Thirdly, the war has created a huge brain drain in all sectors including education. In order to successfully tackle restoration of educational, economic, political and social institutions, the government wants to attract Afghan professionals and intellectuals living abroad. We want them to take part in the reconstruction of their country. Without their full participation in the rehabilitation and development efforts, the Islamic Emirate will not be able to tackle these issues successfully.
The conditions today for the implementation of a sound, effective, and Islamic educational program for the women of Afghanistan are nonexistent. Over ninety percent of school buildings have been ruined by the war. Qualified teachers have left the country. School books are full of communist propaganda and indoctrination material. Because of past abuses of the educational system for the purpose of propagating atheist ideology and ideas, the great majority of Afghan fathers and mothers have lost faith in schools and secular education. Last but not least, in spite of its deep desire to activate the schooling system in the country, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has been facing great difficulties in securing the financial and physical resources needed to provide security for the schools, reconstruct school buildings, print new books, acquire the necessary materials and pay for qualified and dependable teachers.
The limited amount of resources at the disposal of the Islamic Emirate are being used to finance a war that has been imposed on Afghanistan by the brazen and open intervention of countries such as Iran, Russia, Uzbekistan and India. Intervention by these countries, and the resulting terrorist activities launched against the innocent men and women of Afghanistan by groups affiliated to these countries, have made the task of providing security for schools and public buildings, particularly girl's schools, extremely difficult.
Currently Operating Girls' Schools
Despite the limited economic resources of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to fund educational institutes, universities in Qandahar, Kabul and Nangrahar provinces are operating as usual. Several NGOs have been allowed to fund schools in Afghanistan, besides the schools funded by the government.
Contrary to reports about girls education in the press, the figures obtained from the education sector in Afghanistan, reveal that girls education in rural Afghanistan is increasing. According to a survey conducted by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA), almost 80 per cent of the girls schools located in rural areas under the administration of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan are operating in full swing. Ms. Pia Karlsson, education advisor at the Education Technical Support Unit (ETSU) of SCA, said in a recent interview published by the Frontier Post, a Peshawar based English daily that only in Ghazni province, where the Islamic Emirate under the leadership of TIMA has control for the last two years, approximately 85 per cent of the girls are still in schools. Ms. Karlsson says, "The picture outside the cities is totally different."
The SCA which has been supporting elementary education in Afghanistan since 1984, currently supports 422 boys schools, 125 girls schools and 897 mixed schools (co-education) in the forms of primary schools and home schools. During the survey, she concentrated on 100 SCA supported girls schools in the nine provinces: Kabul, Kunar, Laghman, Ningarhar, Ghzani, Logar, Paktika, Paktya and Wardak. All these provinces are under the administration of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. According to the survey, female attendance was at 94 per cent and of the 7834 girls enrolled, 7341 were found present. More significantly, at least 170 female teachers were found teaching in these schools. Similarly, in Kunduz province, 122 schools are operating with 390 female teachers teaching at the schools. The Islamic Emirate is ready to open girls and boys schools with appropriate foreign assistance.
Female Health Sector
Health facilities for women have increased 200% during Taleban administration. Prior to the Taleban Islamic Movement's taking control of Kabul, there were 350 beds in all hospitals in Kabul. Currently, there are more than 950 beds for women in exclusive women's hospitals. Some hospitals which have specifically been allocated to women include Rabia Balkhi Hospital, Malali Hospital, Khair Khana Hospital, Indira Gandhi Child Health Hospital, Atta Turk Hospital, Kuwait Red Crescent Hospital, Contagious Disease Hospital and T.B. Hospital. Moreover, there are 32 mother and child health clinics. In addition to this, women receive treatment at ICRC and the Sandy Gal Orthopaedic Centers. In all these hospitals and clinics, women work as doctors and nurses to provide health services to female patients.