MADRE Articles

"Afghan Good Enough" Isn't Good Enough

Posted on: Monday, May 21, 2012

Keywords: Afghanistan, Asia, US Foreign Policy, Combating Violence Against Women

Afghanistan loomed large at this year’s NATO summit, as leaders discussed how to draw down the war. It was a stark change in tone from the early days of the war. The promises for democracy and rights are gone, replaced by a lowered expectation of minimal security.

MADRE never believed that the war on Afghanistan would improve conditions for women or stabilize the country. A war is no way to bring about either human rights or human security.

Afghan women, like all women living in conflict zones, suffer disproportionately from war. They shoulder the responsibility of caring for the most vulnerable, including children, the wounded and the elderly. And when foreign military intervention emboldens fundamentalist forces who claim to defend their homeland and whose vision of Afghanistan depends on denying women’s rights, women come out the losers.

Maybe NATO leaders are doing us a favor by dropping the façade about Afghanistan’s future: one less false rationale to debunk. Now, world leaders are instead hoping for “Afghan good enough,” and for “a modicum of stability.”

It’s not enough for NATO to simply lower expectations and leave Afghans to clean up the mess.

In the past eleven years of war, NATO and US-led forces have killed thousands of Afghan civilians, fueling popular support of the Taliban. Women who try to exercise basic rights have also been threatened and killed by the Taliban. On NATO’s watch, new laws that constrain women’s rights have been passed in exchange for support from fundamentalist politicians.

NATO, and particularly the United States, are largely responsible for this crisis. For those of us who care about human rights, Obama’s “Afghan good enough” is simply not good enough.

We will continue to support Afghan women who are risking their lives to stand up for their rights. And we will continue to hold the US and NATO accountable for their actions in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

 

By Yifat Susskind, MADRE Executive Director

 


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