What is the future of women in Afghanistan?

“I have a fear,” said Fawzia Koofi, an advocate and voice for the Afghan women and children, “that we will lose the gains we have made over the past 10 years.”

Koofi is a leading Member of Parliament and potential 2014 presidential candidate. She recently wrote her memoir, “The Favored Daughter: One Woman’s Fight to Lead Afghanistan Into the Future.”

Since the Taliban fell, 2.7 million Afghan girls have been enrolled in school, compared with just 5,000 in 2001. Sixty-nine women now serve in parliament.

Koofi’s fight for the rights of Afghan women might be sadly curtailed by the possibility of a Taliban-influenced government. She is frustrated by the peace process talks that lack transparency.

“Women are not included. Civil society and the political opponents of the government aren’t included. Even parliament is not included,” said Koofi.

The Taliban, already known for their conservative culture, have left an inedible mark in liberated Afghanistan.

Girl attacked on way to school

Shamsia Husseini was on her way to school when a man on a motorbike threw acid in her face. Shamsia and five of her friends suffered burns. The message from the Taliban was clear, “Don’t let your daughters go to school.”

Woman killed

“Woman arrested for strangling daughter-in-law for giving birth to third daughter,” reported the BBC news. Most parents would rejoice over the birth of a newborn, but in Afghanistan, boys are prized and girls are often seen as a burden. The mother-in-law tied the feet of the 22-year-old Stori while Stori’s husband strangled her.

Rescued from violence

Sahar Gul was only 15-years old when she married a man twice her age, for a paltry dowry of $4,500. Sahar was locked in a cellar for months, starved and brutally tortured by her husband and his family. There are laws banning violence against women but sadly they are hard to enforce.

Ten years after fall of Taliban, women in Afghanistan somewhat continue to suffer in silence.

The future of Afghan women

With the White House aiming to bring most troops home by 2014, the Taliban are less likely to concede on key principles, including the repression of women. Eighty-six percent of women questioned in a recent poll by an international humanitarian agency, expressed deep concern at the prospect of a Taliban-influenced government.

“Afghan female TV presenters asked to wear headscarves and remove make-up,” screamed the latest headlines of The Telegraph.

Sadly, Afghan women have not yet been given the opportunity to have a say in setting the agenda for US talks with the Taliban.

I pondered at the unrealized freedom that I have as a woman and as a journalist.

I have the right to an education, to vote, to love and to live.

“Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed or those we enjoy now.”

A W Tozer

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