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We can't make Afghans care about their own women. Only they can.

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It is nightmarish to imagine what will happen to Afghan women as a ruthless Taliban regime takes hold – what is already happening. It’s even more tragic knowing that America gave so many of them a taste of freedom and opportunity, of the potential for full lives. Today’s college students are too young to remember the utter shock of seeing a country of women wearing burqas, head to toe coverings with small patches of mesh in the eye area. Women who looked all the same, women who were completely hidden, women unable to see except barely and straight ahead.

It was a nightmare. It was 20 years ago. Will it come back? Are we to blame?

The Taliban march to power, so quick, so easy, so obviously in the works for months, makes a mockery of earnest pleas to include women on the Afghan government’s team in peace negotiations with the Taliban. As if they ever would have agreed to a peaceful political solution and protection of women’s rights, or kept their word if they gave it. As if women at the table could have made a difference.

Just last year, there were “targeted attacks on women leading up to the start of the negotiations,” including an assassination attempt on Fawzia Koofi, one of four women on the government’s negotiating team, according to the latest State Department report on human rights. The Taliban also "burned a girls’ school in Takhar Province" and about a year ago prevented 200 women from taking university entrance exams "by........


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