Reliving the Dark Ages in Afghanistan
By Ahmed Bashir
The Frontier Post, September 12, 1998

A couple of months ago, some Afghan women who had taken refuge in Pakistan took out a procession in Peshawar, to win public support for their human rights. The mullahs of Afghanistan and of Peshawar, got wind of it, and organised a lashkar to break up the procession by force. They armed their men with dandas. The protesting women, under, the banner of RAWA (Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan), also collected dandas, and hit back. The newspaper report did not say more and we do not know how the battle developed. But it was an evidence that the weakest section of the Afghanistan society was ready to fight the oppressing mullahs. The Muslims will have their hands and feet chopped off, women will be whipped in public, and children will continue to be sold in slavery by helpless parents, but the Muslims of Afghanistan led by the Amirul Momineen, will not be given social justice, sustenance for the disabled and the unemployed, and freedom of movement to women.

According to a recent Radio Shariat (Kabul) announcement, doctors working in the Taliban-held Afghanistan, have been ordered to refuse treatment of women not accompanied by close male relatives.

The order is the latest in a long series of harsh measures taken in the name of Islam for enforcing public morality. The mullahs in charge have decided to minimise contact between males and females.

Many of Kabul's 30,000 women have no male relative left to accompany them, thanks to the 20-year-old jehad, first against the Russians, and then against the Afghans themselves. All public hospitals or what is left of them have segregated the two sexes and are subjected to regular checks by religious squads for the fostering of virtue and prevention of vice.

Earlier, they whipped people who were in the habit of trimming their beards. According to a report published in the official organ of the Revolutionary Women of Afghanistan, when Kartaseh, Karteehar, Kabul University, Abnicena Hospital, were captured by the Taliban, two mass graves were discovered on the campus. In the first grave, bodies of countless men and women were lumped together. They had been buried alive. In the second grave was found a box in which had been stuffed tight bodies. Their hands and feet had been chopped off.

Amnesty International was informed by a visitor to Kabul of the plight of two Afghan nurses who were assaulted by the Taliban. One day, the Taliban official in charge of the security of the area, a 17-year-old boy, came to the hospital in which they worked. The nurses in question were not wearing burqa, since it hindered their duties. But they wore dopattas and long coats alright. The Taliban security officer dragged them to a tree and began to beat them with a stick. One of the two nurses tried to run away. She was thrown on the ground and trampled under the feet.

On Pule Baghumoomi in Central Kabul, a man wanted to sell his two boys and one daughter at Afs 3,00,000 each. The children and their helpless father were crying together. On another day, at another place, a man put his six-year-old daughter on sale, because he said that he could not feed his family. The shopkeepers of Jalalabad collected Afs 1,80,000 for the man and persuaded him not to sell his daughter. On Jan 22, 1996 a woman was hit by a Taliban vehicle. People went to the governor of Herat for action against the offender. He said, "we keep telling you that women do not have the right to go out. Let it be a good lesson for those who leave their houses. Abdullah, a resident of Blashesar and his wife were listening to recorded music in their houses. A group of Taliban broke in, beat them up, and mounted the couple on a donkey for their 'unIslamic' lifestyle.

Some time ago, the Taliban cut hands and feet of three persons in Farah on the premises of the Abunaser Lycee. They were from the Pashto-speaking village of Bakwa. Their names were Sultan, Khangul, and Lukwan, and they were accused of robbery. The Taliban called surgeon Sheikh Ahmad, and ordered him to cut the right hands and the left feet of the accused. The doctor refused to do so. The Taliban warned the doctor that they would have to do it themselves, and if the victims died of bleeding, they would kill the doctor too the doctor had to submit.

People had been forced to watch this brutal amputation when the show was over. The Taliban put the bleeding hands and the feet in a wheelbarrow and went round of the village.

Shaista was about 22-year-old. One day she got very seriously ill. She asked her cousin, Abdus Salam, to take her to a doctor. On the way to the hospital they were stopped by armed religious squads. At one check post, the man was given thrashing for taking his cousin to a doctor. They warned Shaista that if she went out again, she would be killed. Nasima, daughter of Khalil, resident of Dareband, was returning home from a wedding when a group of Taliban abducted her. After several days of gangrape she was dropped near her house. She tried to commit suicide but she was saved. The family could not live with the shame of it, and left the town.

According to a report published in RAWA's Pyam-i-Zan, a patient in the Sherpao Hospital told his friend, "Some days ago I was travelling in a truck carrying goods from Kandhar to Kabul. When we were close to Ghazni, we were stopped at a checkpost, manned by Commander Qalam of Hekmatyar's, Hizbe Islami. I was asked to hand over all the money I was carrying.

I told him I did not have much. He looked into my eyes and said that he would soon convince me that I had much. He went into checkpost hut, and returned with a bleeding headless corpse. He said this one also did not have much. What was then the use of having his head on his shoulders? I was benumbed by fear, but I again muttered that I did not have much. At this the commander fired at my shoulder. This was a warning. He could have killed me. I gave him my Rs. 5000 and was allowed to go to Pakistan for treatment.

Maulvi Dost Mohammad, the erudite head of the shariah court of Farah, gave the following fatwa, "If a man kisses the hand of his mother-in-law in greeting and felicitation of Eid, it means that his wife has been divorced."

Reports of this nature are endless and they show that for the mullahs of Afghanistan women are the source of sin. They are sadists and love to inflict physical and mental pain on the poor and the weak. But the Islamists of Pakistan who know all about the distortion of Islam in Afghanistan, are silent over the tragedy. In reality, they idealise the Amirul Momineen, though they do not say it. They also believe in harsh punishments and the suppression of women and minorities. Islam, according to them, was not a social revolution, but a discipline of prayers and punishments, and they are not prepared to relate it to our current problems. Since the Islamists do not want to change the feudal capitalist feudal order and are not ready to creatively apply Islam for the peace and happiness of man, they are eager to give harsh punishments which the monarchical societies of yore gave to their social and religious offenders.

Observation of prayers can be forced on people. Women and minorities can also be harassed but these are not the central themes of Islam. The mullahs do not want to change the scheme of the distribution of wealth. Islam is therefore reduced to Shariat ; Shariat to fiqh, and fiqh to the cutting of hands and the chopping of feet. If the world hates the Muslims, we are ourselves to blame for it.

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