As the world witnessed the Taliban take management of Afghanistan because the United States finalised the withdrawal of its troopers from the nation, the West’s main concern seems to be what’s going to now occur to Afghan girls.
“The Taliban’s Return is Awful for Women”, says the Atlantic. “Women in Afghanistan Fear Return to a Repressive Past Under Taliban” studies the New York Times. “Afghanistan: Why there are grave fears for women” is the title for a Sky News story.
These information studies goal to not solely create the idea that the West actually cares about Afghan girls’s rights, however also implies girls’s rights had been the truth is protected beneath the American occupation of Afghanistan.
While the plight of Afghan girls is getting used to whitewash the US invasion of Afghanistan, men and boys are nearly fully omitted from mainstream conversations about “the victims” of this war, and as an alternative, there is a acutely aware erasure of their humanity.
Maya Mikdashi – in her article, Can Palestinian Men Be Victims? – examined the gendering of Israel’s war on Gaza in 2014 and the emphasis positioned on girls and youngsters within the conversations in regards to the victims of that onslaught. She defined how this method completed many discursive feats, two of which are most outstanding: “The massifying of women and children into an undistinguishable group brought together by the ‘sameness’ of gender and sex, and the reproduction of the male Palestinian body (and the male Arab body more generally) as always already dangerous.” The standing of Palestinian men as victims, she pointed, all the time stays circumspect.
Similarly, Afghan men are nearly by no means categorised as victims of war. At least within the West, it is all the time open to query whether or not they are often dispossessed, concern the violation of their civil and human rights, or could be thought of a refugee that deserves compassion. Their expertise is typically speculated and nearly by no means reported on. A easy Google search of “Afghan men” clearly reveals that they are represented in Western analysis papers, information studies and social media posts merely as latently misogynistic perpetrators of violence.
In order to actually perceive the explanations behind the demonisation of the Afghan man, nonetheless, we should have a look at why America and the West are so serious about “saving” Afghan girls.
Shortly after George W Bush declared his so-called “war on terror”, the plight of Afghan girls beneath the Taliban grew to become a outstanding speaking level in America. Then-First Lady Laura Bush, in a radio handle to the nation, condemned the “severe repression against women in Afghanistan” and claimed that the “fight against terrorism is also a fight for the rights and dignity of women”. Time journal even launched a report on the oppression of girls in Afghanistan titled Lifting the Veil. At the UN’s International Women’s Day celebration on March 8, 2002, Laura Bush gave one other well-publicised speech during which she argued that the war in Afghanistan is “helping Afghan women return to the lives they once knew”.
The US administration used feminist language when speaking about Afghanistan, not as a result of it actually cared about Afghan girls, however as a result of it believed such an method may assist it garner widespread assist for its invasion.
The media performed an necessary function in gendering the US war in Afghanistan. Soon after 9/11 and the beginning of the “war on terror”, alongside quite a few studies on abuse and discrimination confronted by girls in Afghanistan, media organisations began circulating images of Afghan girls clad in burkas beneath the Taliban’s rule and juxtaposing these photos in opposition to images from earlier occasions when their garments weren’t policed by men. With the identification of Afghan girls as oppressed and in want of liberation, gender was delivered to the forefront of world politics, and all Muslim men had been recognized as oppressors of girls and the enemies of the Western civilisation. Suddenly, the US war in Afghanistan was legitimised as a feminist endeavour within the eyes of the American folks and the broader worldwide neighborhood.
And little or no modified within the final 20 years.
Now, images of Afghan girls taken within the final 20 years are being circulated on social media and printed by information organisations to underline how “free and safe” they had been beneath American occupation and what they may lose beneath the Taliban’s rule.
Except, of course, Afghan girls weren’t “saved” by the occupation forces. The US and its NATO allies didn’t defend Afghan girls from oppression and violence, they solely created a unique violent actuality for them. The financial and political instability created by the invasion, together with routine night time raids, drone assaults, and energetic preventing in Taliban strongholds exacerbated the obstacles girls face in Afghanistan in the course of the occupation.
The US and its allies undoubtedly supplied new alternatives and much-needed help to some Afghan girls throughout their time within the nation. However, their efforts had been centered totally on a selected subset of Afghan girls whose struggling match neatly into their narratives in regards to the inherent violence and misogyny of Afghan men.
In a current article for Al Jazeera, for instance, Sahar Ghumkor and Anila Daulatzai defined how, after the US invasion, Afghan girls shortly realised they’d be deemed extra worthy of US help if they are saying their struggling is brought on by the Taliban and the Taliban solely. They even quoted one Afghan lady as saying: “We figured out that if you tell them that the Taliban killed your husband, you get support. We are not useful if we tell them the Soviets killed our husbands, or if our husbands died in the 1990s. They only care if the Taliban made us widows.”
Indeed, the US didn’t look after the complexities and completely different realities Afghan girls confronted because of 4 a long time of war that ravaged their nation. They had been solely within the experiences of Afghan girls that match into their narratives and assist justify their “feminist” invasion.
And Afghan men, nonetheless a lot they could have suffered by the hands of the Taliban, not to mention anybody else, have altogether been ignored by the US. In the eyes of the West, Afghan men had been by no means victims – they had been the perpetrators of 9/11, the fighters in al-Qaeda, the members of the Taliban, and oppressive figures that may solely reign terror on their society.
This perception that each single Afghan man is a menace had devastating penalties.
Most American troopers deployed to Afghanistan, identical to their political leaders and generals, didn’t make any try and differentiate male Afghan civilians from Taliban fighters. As a consequence, they routinely turned their weapons on harmless Muslim male our bodies.
The Americans routinely tortured, unlawfully imprisoned and killed male Afghan civilians. Many Afghan men, for instance, had been imprisoned and tortured in “black sites” within the Bagram airbase advanced located north of Kabul, with no formal expenses.
Mullah Habibullah and taxi driver Dilawar had been solely two of these innocent victims of America’s war on terror in Afghanistan.
Habibullah died on December 4, 2002, in Bagram from a pulmonary embolism brought on by blunt pressure damage to the legs – he had been chained to the ceiling and repeatedly overwhelmed. The troopers answerable for his loss of life tried to justify their actions, saying he was “non-compliant”.
22-year-old Dilawar died in Bagram on December 10, 2002. At the time of his loss of life, he weighed merely 55 kgs. Despite not being accused of any crime, he was chained to the ceiling of his cell and left suspended by his wrists for 4 days. During his quick detention, his legs had been also overwhelmed to a pulp. He survived simply 5 days in captivity.
Since 2001, 1000’s of harmless Afghan men like Dilawar and Habibullah have been killed – some by the US, others by the Taliban. Yet, these men are being seen neither as victims of the US invasion nor as human beings deserving of the West’s sympathies – within the eyes of many observers within the West, they are nothing however potential safety threats which have been rightfully eradicated.
According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, between January 2004 and February 2020, the US performed not less than 13,072 drone assaults in Afghanistan, killing 4126 to 10,076 folks. 300 to 909 of these killed are believed to have been civilians.
It is unimaginable to know the true quantity of harmless Afghans, and particularly Afghan men, who perished within the US’s drone war on Afghanistan as a result of consecutive US administrations did the whole lot they may to obscure this quantity.
As the New York Times explained in 2012, for instance, the Obama administration counted “all military-age males [killed] in a strike zone as combatants … unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.”
“Counterterrorism officials,” the Times article went on to say, “insist this approach is one of simple logic: people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top Qaeda operative, are probably up to no good.”
In different phrases, Afghan men dealing with no expenses had been routinely killed by the US, with impunity, just because they occurred to be men residing in a area the US wished to “save and civilise”.
Of course, not all male deaths in Afghanistan in the course of the 20 yr US invasion had been handled equally. The US troopers who misplaced their lives in Afghanistan had been handled as heroes who died for his or her nation, for democracy, for human rights – even though the army they serve was recognized to be committing grave human rights abuses in opposition to harmless Afghan civilians.
Now that the US is out of Afghanistan, it is time the worldwide neighborhood adjustments the best way it perceives the men affected by this invasion and its grave penalties.
Just like Afghan girls and youngsters, Afghan men also endured a long time of relentless wars, oppressive regimes, and indiscriminate drone assaults. We can’t proceed to view all of them as inherent misogynists and safety threats – they are human beings who deserve our assist and sympathy.
The views expressed in this article are the creator’s personal and don’t essentially mirror Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.