New Delhi: Expressing concern over the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, a group of experts underlined that the international community must press for the Taliban to stop abusing women.
Discussing the topic “Role of International Media in Safeguarding Women’s rights under Taliban” during a seminar organised by Delhi-based think tank Red Lantern Analytica, Heather Barr, Associate Director, Women’s Rights Division, Human Rights Watch said that the international media coverage is not fair, and is diluted. She added that some believe that the security threat is greater when more than fifty percent of the total population in Afghanistan is terrified. She also specified that the Taliban can never be trusted with women’s rights in Afghanistan and they have demonstrated that very clearly.
Nargis Nehan, the former minister of mines and petroleum in Afghanistan said, “Former president would run away leaving his countrymen at the mercy of the Taliban was absolutely unpredictable. It is also very sad to see that posts of ministers and military commanders have gone to terror outfits, especially the Haqqani network, the members of which are in the FBI’s most-wanted list.”
“Women in Afghanistan have been part of reconstruction, not war. And yet women are the ones who have to pay the highest price in the process,” Zarifa Ghafari, Afghanistan’s former mayor and human rights activist noted. She added, “Though the trouble and the pain is intense, yet the women in Afghanistan would fight back. The battle would be hard but today’s women would not give up as women in Afghanistan make up a significant part of the society, their economy, cultural development, social development and also a part of the government.”
Roya Musawi, former Spokesperson of International Committee of Red Cross Afghanistan, remarked that the media in the west have spread the Taliban propaganda and have focused disproportionately on them, to the detriment of the protests of the population. “They present a partial and simplistic view of the crisis of Afghanistan. But to an absolute dismay, no international media have till now interviewed the protesting women,” she said.
Habiba Ashna, International Affairs Expert, mentioned that the international media positioned themselves as saviors, “instead of saying that they were abandoning us”.
Afghan-Canadian Journalist Yalda Sarwar elaborated how she had many times been targeted by fundamentalist groups and specific media outlets, who wanted to shut her mouth. She opined that many international media have a specific agenda. “They only demonstrate the narrative that they want to show the audience. They try to silence people who question the credibility of their news,” she said.
She urged the people of all the nations to “bend their ears to Afghanistan and stand beside them in times of necessity”.