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Pashtun Women Viewpoint


Pashtun society used to be one of the most progressive in the region, which had progressive political and social movements at the grassroots level... Pushtuns have fought extremists in the past...  the recent sacrifices of Pashtuns against the Taliban demonstrate the true nature of Pashtun society...


Members of peace jirgas in Swat and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been targeted and killed for their anti-Taliban views in recent years. There is little acknowledgement that these Pukhtuns are fighting for peace, and they need support from the rest of the country.


The miseries of women in FATA due to mass migration, internal displacement, rape abuses, and killings in this war on terror have received little attention or sympathy....


Custody of the children is usually given to the father. In the rare cases that custody is given to the mother, she lives in constant fear that her children will be taken away from her any time — and if she decides to remarry, she will have to give her children back to her ex-husband’s family, and Afghan men will not raise another man’s progeny.


The family still does not know who killed her but believe she was murdered for the choices she made in her life i.e. dressing like a man, working outside her house... and most importantly, for having a love affair with another girl.

These centuries old standards have remained unabated... just because nobody in our society has the courage to speak up and challenge them.

Stress Disorder in Afghans

Decades of war and conflicts have left most of those Afghans, who physically survived these conflicts, in a psychologically traumatized state.

Many efforts have been made and invested into providing and building up a professional network of medical care and treatment in the last 10 years.


Many Afghan widows are deprived of their rights to remarry and have normal lives again....

Traditional cultural practices, leaving widows with limited choice about their future, are making it almost impossible for widows to remarry someone they want. The word widow or “kwanda” in Pashto and “bewa” in Dari has much negative social stigmas attached to it.


Islamic law grants inheritance rights to women which they may not have under tribal law. Since women are less powerful in the society, they are denied their rights...

When Afghans claim to be strict followers of Islamic religion, why don’t they give women their legal rights to inherit according to the orders stated in the Quran?


Every time foreigners intervened in Afghanistan, the security deteriorated...

The darkest age for Afghan women began during the civil war, which resulted in complete breakdown of law and order. Lack of law enforcement gave an opportunity to religious extremists... active in the Pashtun-dominated areas, to restrict female mobility based on their interpretations of Islam’s teachings.


The brutal murder of Shabana sent shockwaves throughout the city and beyond the valley.

The screams of an innocent, helpless woman being dragged on to the street, killed, decapitated, and then left for the seeing of ordinary citizens as an example, was a turning point for the residents of the valley who started emigrating in large numbers to neighboring districts...


The condition of Afghan women today cannot be detached from the miseries of the past three decades of war.

Throughout the years of the Soviet invasion, the Mujahidin rule, the Taliban reign, the US-led international intervention, and the current Taliban insurgency, women in Afghanistan have suffered the most....