Time Magazine make the statement this week, “What happens when we leave Afghanistan” along with a cover photo and story about Bibi Aisha.
At age 12, Aisha and her younger sister were given to the family of a Taliban fighter in Oruzgan Province under a tribal custom for settling disputes, known as “baad.”
Once Aisha reached puberty, she was married to the Taliban fighter, but since he was in hiding most of the time, she and her sister were housed with the in-laws’ livestock and used as slaves, frequently beaten as punishment for their uncle’s crime.
Aisha fled the abuse, but her husband tracked her down in Kandahar a year ago, took her back to Oruzgan, and on a lonely mountainside cut off her nose and both ears and left her bleeding. She said she still did not remember how she managed to walk away to find help.
Now, this is a horrible story – just like the horrible stories in Half the Sky – but should this be a reason for the United States to remain in Afghanistan (or any other country in the future?) Writing in The Guardian, Priyamvada Gopal makes a strong case that this is exactly the wrong way to discuss both womens’ rights and the Afghan occupation.
The mutilated Afghan woman ultimately fills a symbolic void where there should be ideas for real change. The truth is that the US and allied regimes do not have anything substantial to offer Afghanistan beyond feeding the gargantuan war machine they have unleashed.
And there is some serious logic to what Michael Shaw of BagNews says:
What happens if we leave??? Didn’t this girl meet this fate after we’d been there nine years?
This cover and the issues surrounding it have been hotly debated in the media. What do you think? Should the US remain in Afghanistan to protect womens’ rights? Is that even working? Are there other, better solutions? Please leave your comments!