Afghan women condemn Taliban for misusing women’s dress

Taliban’s tactics show their extreme weakness

By Najibullah

2012-04-10

KABUL – Afghan women are denouncing militants who attempt to conduct terrorism while disguised as women.

Afghan police in the eastern province of Laghman recently arrested seven Taliban militants, two of whom were wearing women’s clothing.

Such tactics violate not only Islamic tenets but also Afghan traditions, angering many Afghans.

Most recently, one of two suicide bombers who blew themselves up in Herat April 10 was dressed in a burqa. The sentiment among Afghan women is that the Taliban are trying to undermine social respect for women.

Tactic shows terrorists’ weakness

Disguising oneself as a woman while carrying out a terrorist attack shows the weakness of the insurgents, Shah Gol Rezai, a Ghazni Province representative in the House of Representatives, told Central Asia Online.

(And) the Taliban know that using women’s clothes insults Afghan culture, but their external masters (al-Qaeda) compel them to do so, she added.

“Insurgents neither have a reason nor an excuse for killing innocent women, children, and men; they don’t have any excuse for this action as well,” said Suraya Parlika, a woman's rights activist in Kabul.

Afghan women have stayed true to their religion and don’t participate in sinful acts, maintaining their feminine purity, Parlika said, contending they had managed to do so despite years of insecurity.

When terrorists dress in women’s clothes, they undermine the status of Afghan women, Parlika said.

Such insurgents not only insult the status of women, they also conduct a shameful and non-Afghan act, she said. The insurgents say they support Islam, yet they commit acts that Islam prohibits, said Farkhondeh, a resident of Mazar-e-Sharif, northern Afghanistan.

She agreed with public opinion that wearing women’s clothes to conduct terrorist attacks and harm the innocent has no place in Islam.

Concerns over further constraints on women

Furthermore, Afghan women fear they will face more constraints in the future.

Authorities generally don’t search Afghan women or subject them to other security measures because of the cultural respect for women’s privacy. However, if insurgents continue to dress as women to facilitate their attacks, security forces will be compelled to search females of all ages, even when they are entering their schools, Malalai Ahmadzai, a student in Kabul, predicted.

Such Taliban actions will have two harmful results, Rezai said.

“First, the security forces have no option but to inspect all the women in order to identify those insurgents who disguise themselves in women's clothing,” Rezai said. “The second negative result is that the views toward women's clothing and the veil will never be as they were in the past.”

Hostility toward culture

The Taliban’s actions show the group’s hostility toward Afghan culture, many Afghan women say.

"Any action that the rebels have done so far is in contradiction with Islam, as well as with Afghan culture,” said Jamileh a, teacher in one of Kabul’s schools. “This is further proof of the animosity that this group has towards Afghan culture.”

Destroying Buddha statues, burning down schools, using turbans in suicide bombings, sending suicide bombers to mosques and disguising terrorists as women all demonstrate that hostility, she added.

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