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Imagine that you were denied the right to be educated, or to work. Imagine that you were forced to cover yourself from head to toe every time you left your house, and that you could be beaten or killed for appearing in public without a close male relative. Imagine that you were denied medical treatment because your government would not allow a male doctor to treat you ("Women and Girls"). Most of us cannot imagine living such a life, but as Khaled Hosseini through the novel The Kite Runner brought to realization, for females in Afghanistan, this is the life they lead every day. Since September of 1994, a political group called the Taliban has been committing acts of terrorism toward Afghan women ("The Taliban Story"). The Taliban in Afghanistan are abusing women, confiscating from them their rights that every human is entitled to, and need to be stopped.

Every day, women in Afghanistan are beaten and raped by Taliban officials, in addition to being denied their basic rights ("Perspective on Women's Plight"). Today, the Taliban has taken control of over ninety percent of Afghanistan. The rest of the country is able to stay free from Taliban rule only by armed resistance (Goodwin 288). The Taliban regime has the power to pass laws oppressing women; this oppression includes forbidding them from attending school or closing all women's hospitals (Goodwin 289). The actions that this organization has taken against women are an infringement on the basic rights of all humans.

The entire concept of human rights is based upon the foundation that human rights should apply to everyone. For this reason, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The Universal Declaration is considered a standard for all countries recognizing human rights ("Human Rights"). When human rights are violated, it is the responsibility of a country or organization that recognizes human rights to intervene. The Talib regime in Afghanistan is clearly violating human rights. For example, Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses" ("The Universal Declaration"). The Taliban frequently kidnaps Afghan girls from their homes and forces them to marry Talib officials (Goodwin 300). This is clearly a violation of human rights. The Taliban has also violated countless other human rights, such as the right to work and the right to be educated ("The Universal Declaration").

As countries that recognize human rights, we have a moral obligation to ameliorate the damage already done by the Talib regime, and to prevent as much further damage as possible.

One might argue that the Afghan culture is one that we do not understand, and that we should allow its government to conduct itself without outside interference. This might be a valid argument if there were any evidence that the people of Afghanistan were content with the lifestyle that their government has imposed upon them. However, the women of Afghanistan are not happy with the life that is forced upon them. Ninety-seven percent of Afghan women are severely depressed, and nearly one quarter have also considered or attempted suicide (Goodwin 289). This is evidence that these women do not want this lifestyle. The Talibs defend their actions by claiming that they are mandated by the Islamic religion, which is dominant in Afghanistan and its surrounding countries. However, there is nothing written in Islamic law to justify the way the Taliban has been treating women. In fact, many laws made by the Taliban are in direct contradiction to the Qur'an, the Islamic holy book. For example, the Qur'an states that women are not to have their faces covered, and the required burqua, which covers a woman from head to toe, does just this ("Perspective on Women's Plight"). The Qur'an also states "Men shall have a profit from what they earn, and women shall have a profit from what they earn." (qtd. in "Perspective on Women's Plight"). This essentially means that women have the right to work, which the Taliban has forbidden. The laws made by the Taliban are not part of the Islamic culture and the women of Afghanistan do not want this type of lifestyle. Therefore, helping these people would not be interfering with their culture.

The Taliban first gained power by claiming that it could rid Afghanistan of its problems ("The Taliban Story"). It is true that Afghanistan has had many social problems in the past; they have faced Soviet domination and have been at civil war for eighteen years. However, the Taliban has done nothing to improve Afghanistan. If anything, the Taliban



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