Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace


Posted by strattof on January 4, 2010


Throughout the 20th century, women in much of Afghanistan enjoyed periodic limited equality whenever they were left to negotiate it themselves. This is because there are large parts of Afghan society that know the importance of educating daughters, wives, and mothers. But whenever foreign interests have wanted to maximize their influence for their own gain, they have resorted to making alliances with conservative elements in Afghan society.  

 1919 – 1929

  • Early in his reign, King Amanullah forced Britain to recognize the full independence of Afghanistan.
  • Throughout his reign, King Amanullah , with the help of his wife, Queen Soraya Tarzi, introduced reforms in regard to women’s rights, founding schools for girls, as well as co-educational schools, abolishing strict dress codes, and making forced and child marriages illegal.
  • In 1929, conservative groups within Afghanistan, with the assistance of the British, forced King Amanullah to abdicate and his reforms were repealed.   

1950 – 1996

  • In the 1950s, Afghan women began to stage demonstrations, demanding a return of their rights. Over the next couple of decades, the government gradually restored those rights, abolishing dress codes and promoting women’s education and employment. By the 1960s, women were increasingly working as teachers, nurses, doctors, judges, and diplomats.  
  • In 1978, the Afghan government invited the Soviet Union to assist in its economic reforms, an act that led to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in 1979.
  • The United States saw the situation as a prime opportunity to weaken the Soviet Union. As part of its Cold War strategy, it began covertly to fund and train anti-government Mujahideen  conservative forces within Afghan society.
  • In 1996, the Taliban, comprised mainly of former Mujahideen, gained power and women’s rights were revoked.

2001 – 2009

  • In 2001, US-led NATO forces occupied Afghanistan. One of their stated aims was to liberate Afghan girls and women.
  • In 2009, the NATO-backed government of Afghan president Hamid Karzai introduced a series of restrictions on women, banning wives from leaving home without their husband’s permission, sanctioning marital rape, and legalizing child marriage. 


MALALAI JOYA is a member of parliament in the Afghan government of President Karzai. In 2007 she was suspended from parliament for speaking out about government corruption.

  •  “The freedoms won by women were not the result of some invasion from the West, but from the development of our own society, our own political process and the struggle of democratically-minded people who risked death for their beliefs.”
  • “Canada is spending taxpayers’ money and the blood of her soldiers on a corrupt regime that mocks democracy.”

ORZALA ASHRAF is the founder of Humanitarian Assistance for Women and Children of Afghanistan.

  • “I don’t expect any outside power to come and liberate me. If I cannot liberate myself, no one from outside can liberate me.”

REVOLUTIONARY ASSOCIATION OF THE WOMEN OF AFGHANISTAN (RAWA) is as an independent political and social organization of Afghan women, founded in 1977.

  • “RAWA believes that freedom and democracy can’t be donated; it is the duty of the people of a country to fight and achieve these values. Under the US-supported government, the sworn enemies of human rights, democracy and secularism have gripped their claws over our country and attempt to restore their religious fascism on our people.”

                                                                                     MAKING PEACE VIGIL December 17 2009


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