Read the first paragraph on the Wikipedia page about the Taliban and then answer the following questions.
1. What does the word Taliban actually mean?
The word Taliban actually means “students”. In Arabic.
2. When did they form the government of Afghanistan and who forced them from power?
The Taliban was formed September, 1996, then in 2001, the Taliban regime was overthrown by Operation Enduring Freedom.
3. Click on the links for the following concepts and then define them in your own words:
Revolt against authoritative figures and/or organizations
Irregular warfare done by civilians in uncomplicated military plans.
4. The Taliban as a social and political “movement” (group) is made up of “volunteers” from which Afghan tribe and people of what neighboring countries to Afghanistan?
The Taliban is mainly made up of the Afghani Pashtun Tribes, surrounding countries including Pakistan, Central Asia, and some Arab countries are allies of the Taliban.
5. Where does the US government believe that the Taliban’s headquarters is (city and country).
The US government believes that the headquarters are in Quetta, Pakistan .
Taliban Leadership and Organization
1. Who is considered by many as the current “leader” of the Taliban?
Many consider Mohammed Omar as the leader of the Taliban .
2. Follow the link to his page and then answer the following questions:
This man is on the US government’s most wanted list for what 3 activities?
Sheltering Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda militants prior to September 11
They believed he was directing the Taliban insurgency against NATO forces.
For also directing the Taliban insurgency against the Karzai administration in Afghanistan .
What is one of the only physical details really known about this man?
He has a missing eye, and a marred cheek and forehead. He is also tall.
How did he get this physical feature?
He was wounded four times in the Battle of Jalalabad in 1989, or in 1986.
No official images exist of this man, so his physical appearance is debated because not a lot of people have actually seen him.
Origins of the Taliban
Scroll down the main Taliban Wikipedia page until you find the heading Origins in order to answer the following questions:
What are the two competing stories about the creation of the Taliban?
When a war broke out in Afghanistan, some people didn’t agree with the one side of the war, so they made their own. This created a completely other party, the Taliban.
The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in in 1979 and held the country for a decade. In an effort to eradicate the Soviets from the Middle East the CIA funded Islamic extremist groups in hopes of uniting Muslims against the Soviets.
Of the 2 stories a supporter would choose to believe which one?
Most likely the first one because it portrays the Taliban as a victorious militant group instead of a West-funded strategic pawn.
Of the 2 stories an opponent would probably choose to believe which one?
The second because it explains the success and immediate power of the Taliban, few military groups would be able to amass power and money that quickly without backing.
PUT A PHOTO OF THE TALIBAN HERE. Make sure you provide the link and be sensitive to what you include – make sure it is school appropriate.
Read the very first paragraph and then summarize the Taliban’s quotation about its reasons for harsh treatment of women below:
The Taliban believes that a woman’s face is the source of corruption for a man that is not related to her. The quote seems to say that the actions of women are no longer sacred or church worthy, so they are trying to make their actions moral again by shunning them and separating them from the “real world”.
Under the Gender Policies heading, summarize the 8 points about the treatment of women by the Taliban provided:
These rules that the Taliban put out destroy the dignity of women by taking away their right to be seen, heard, or touched in public. It is saying that women do not deserve to be out in public whist being themselves because they are a temptation, and a distraction to men out on the streets. Instead they have to cover up so that they are no different than the women beside them.
Dress Code and Mobility
1. Scroll back up the page to find the definition of “mahram”.
Mahram means someone that is not married to you, that you could have sex with and it would be a bad, unholy thing to do.
What are some other restrictions that women faced regarding moving around the cities and countryside in Afghanistan under the Taliban? (3)
Wearing a face covering so a man cannot be tempted by her face.
Women are not allowed to wear heels, because the sound of them may excite a man.
They must keep their voices quiet so that a stranger may not hear them speak.
Why would an all girls’ orphanage be practically a prison under this system?
Girls would not be able to go out in public or go outside. They would be trapped because no blood relative would be able to take them out, so they would be driven mad locked inside of these orphanages .
Dress code stuff:
What is the name for the traditional outfit that women had to wear in Taliban Afghanistan?
They had to wear a Burqa when they went outside, or in front of any man that was not family.
What was the main reason for this strict control of women's’ dress?
Brightly coloured clothing was considered sexually appealing, if a women went out in public with bright clothing then they believed that they would cursed.
Employment and Education
Were women allowed to work at all under the Taliban rules (tricky question)?
They were allowed to work to a certain extent. The jobs that they were allowed to do were very specific and there were not a lot to choose from. The wages that they earned were no where near what they needed to support a family though, so they were basically slaves.
What industries were particularly hit hard by the Taliban’s work policies for women? Pick 2.
Government employees, and female employees in the health industry .
Were women allowed to be educated under Taliban law? What age did they have to stop going to school?
Women were not allowed to be educated past the age of eight under Taliban law.
Find the quote that illustrates that the Taliban actually thought that they had increased women’s rights in Afghanistan.
“ no other country has given women the rights we have given them. We have given women the rights that God and His Messenger have instructed, that is to stay in their homes and to gain religious instruction in hijab.”
Health Care and Forced Confinement
Give 2 reasons it was really tough for women to receive health care when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan.
Since a man could not touch a woman’s body, and women could not work, the amount of people they could go to for health care was minuscule.
After a while, the Taliban banned women from going to general hospitals, leaving one hospital, in Kabul, available for female use .
A study done in 1991 concluded that roughly what percentage of Afghan women they surveyed were showing signs of mental distress and depression?
97% of Afghan women showed signs of mental stress and serious depression, as well as 71% of Afghan women were found to have a declined physical well being.
Describe 3 other cultural prohibitions that were imposed on women or about women if Taliban ruled Afghanistan
They were no longer allowed to attend public baths.
They were banned from socializing, so no connections outside their family.
They were banned from accessing the traditional Hammam
Punishments for Breaking Taliban Laws
Read the information about the types of punishments women (and men) were subjected to in Afghanistan during the Taliban’s rule and summarize 2 extreme examples below:
1997: A mother of seven was executed in front of 30,000 spectators because she murdered her abusive husband. Before her murder she had been imprisoned for three years receiving harsh torture even though it was not her that had committed the crime (it was her daughter)
1999: A woman was found to have been running an informal school in her apartment. Her students were beaten, and she was thrown down the stairs (breaking her leg). She was then imprisoned and forced to sign a declaration of loyalty to the Taliban .
Who is the woman in the photo on this part of the web-page?
Zarmina, mother of seven.
What is happening to her?
She is being executed in front of 30,000 people.
Where is it happening?
At a public stadium. (Ghazi Sports Stadium)
What crime is she accused of?
Murdering her abusive husband.
What happened to her for 3 years before this event?
After being accused and thrown into jail she was tortured harshly.
What organization took the film this photo is a screenshot from?
Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. (RAWA)
Women’s Resistance to the Taliban
Explain what the Golden Needle Sewing School was.
It was a secret school for girls in Afghanistan, at the time where girls could not attend regular school .
How did women “sneak in” 2 details.
They hid this school by calling it “sewing classes”.
They snuck their books and pens in under their Burqa.
Why was the area that this school was in one of the most oppressed by the Taliban? 2 reasons.
It was a cultured city.
(The Taliban disliked both of these)
What is RAWA?
Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan.
Who was the founder of RAWA and what happened to her?
Meena Keshwar Kamal was the founder of RAWA, she was assasinated at the age of thirty. She is still respected as a heroine to Afghani women.
What does RAWA work for? 3 main things.
Aims to involve women in both political and social activities to gain back their human rights.
They argue against and try to persuade the Afghani government to give them rights in a democratic way, not because of fundamentals.
Now that you know …
Write a personal reaction on this slide (3-4 sentences) in which you express your opinion about the treatment of women in Afghanistan by the Taliban. How does it make you feel? Why?
As women we find the treatment of women by the Taliban a fate which is unimaginable. As human beings we find the treatment of women by the Taliban unbelievable. Women are treated worse than dumb animals and used as examples to dissenters of the Taliban’s power. It is disgusting and shameful that the world allowed this to happen at all. Human rights are not gender specific nor limited by borders, so why was this allowed to go on for so long? Some would argue that it is not our duty nor our right to meddle in the affairs of another country but ‘Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.’ (Elie Wiesel.) Elie Wiesel would know how it feels to be trapped in such an inescapable way, as a survivor of the Holocaust. The genocide of the Holocaust was horrific beyond need because the world turned a blind eye. That is exactly what this is; genocide. The persecution of a group for reasons beyond their control such as being born a Jew, or African American, or a woman. We see no difference in the circumstances of this oppression, why should the world?
Do we …
As citizens of a country in which we are relatively free, safe, and equal do we have the responsibility to help places like Afghanistan become more like us? Why or why not? Explain your answer in 3 – 4 sentences.
No, we are not responsible to create another country like us. Forcing our ways upon others of a completely different society is assimilating them and will not help them to become a better functioning country. An example of this is with the First Nations people in Canada. There are so many arguments about the past treaties and other various agreements, and a lot of them are still not happy with the results. The extent of our responsibility for aid in foreign countries lies in the hands of the distressed country. If they want help to become more like us, then yes, it is our responsibility to lend a hand in peacemaking, but if they do not ask for help, we can only do so much before we are damaging the culture of those peoples.