Why Is Violence Against Women Increasing in Afghanistan? Assessing the Roles of the United States’ Policies, the Afghan State, & Islamic Fundamentalism

Friday, 20 July 2018: 11:15
Oral Presentation
Sayed AKBARY, University of Calgary, Canada
Violence against women in Afghanistan has been increasing, and the country is still considered the most dangerous place for women in the world. This paper attempts to answer why violence against women has been increasing in Afghanistan despite the United States’ intervention, large amounts of aid, human resources, and promises for ‘fighting for the rights and dignity of Afghan women’. Based on a review of the literature, this paper suggests that two factors are major barriers for prevention of violence against women in the country: (1) the Afghan state’s weakness to implement gender-based reforms due to the local patriarchal and kin-based tribal powers fueled by the U.S. foreign policies; and (2) the role of decentralized independent madrassas (local Islamic schools) and Afghan extremist religious groups who have produced fundamentalist and conservative interpretation of Islamic texts to control and oppress women. After discussing each factor, the mid-twentieth century post-colonial Tunisian state-building strategies and family-law reformations are used as a model to offer solutions for prevention of violence against women in Afghanistan.