Time story exposed as lie
U.S. occupation increases violence against Afghan women
Published Aug 26, 2010 8:44 PM
The Aug. 9 Time magazine featured a shocking cover photo: a portrait of an
Afghan woman named Aisha whose nose had been cut off, allegedly by the Taliban,
for resisting abusive in-laws. Time used this picture to build support for U.S.
troops as a “last line of defense” that will not
“abandon” Afghan women against an advancing Taliban.
None of this was true.
The Taliban did not mutilate this woman. She was maimed by other reactionary
forces while the U.S. looked the other way. Far from protecting Afghan women,
the U.S. occupation has resulted in increased violence against them, while the
Pentagon protects a government filled with misogynists.
In a story entitled “Afghan Women Have Already Been Abandoned” (The
Nation, Aug. 12), Ann Jones, who knows the woman on Time’s cover,
explained: “I heard Aisha’s story from her a few weeks before her
face was displayed all over the world. She told me that her father-in-law
caught up with her after she had run away, and he took a knife to her on his
own; village elders later approved, but the Taliban didn’t figure at all
into this account.”
The true story, in a small-circulation progressive publication, will be read by
a few. But Time magazine is everywhere and its slick and dramatic cover, which
exploits the terrible situation of an unfortunate Afghan woman to justify the
U.S. occupation, has already been seen by millions around the world. This
blatant lie by one of the most powerful magazines in the world is an example of
how the biggest media have taken on the role of mouthpieces for Pentagon
policies, abandoning any pretext of objective journalism.
Meanwhile, Aisha’s face was mutilated by reactionary forces during the
U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, making the U.S. government responsible. In
fact, “as U.S. troops remain in the country and have dominated it for the
past 10 years, violence against women in Afghanistan has been increasing
— not decreasing,” according to the Afghan women’s
U.S.-backed Karzai government filled with misogynists
The U.S. government has created a frenzy against Taliban mistreatment of women
for its own reasons. Pentagon press releases do not point out, however, that
the Karzai government, placed in office by U.S. tanks and maintained there by
U.S. troops, is mostly made up of reactionary feudal forces with the same views
toward women as the Taliban.
Feudal misogynists control Parliament, the cabinet and the courts, according to
Jones. Even Time admits that “Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal, the minister of
economy and leader of the ideologically conservative Hizb-i-Islami faction ...
believes that women should not be allowed to leave the home unaccompanied by a
male relative.” (Time, Aug. 9)
Some gains for women in Kabul had been reported since 2001, as opposed to women
in the countryside, who face the dislocation, death, hunger, hardship and lack
of social accountability caused by the U.S. bombings. But today even women in
Kabul face a severe backlash.
Prominent women assassinated, threatened
According to Jones, “a series of assassinations of prominent women,
beginning in 2005, have driven many women from work and public life. Women
working in women’s organizations in Kabul regularly receive threatening
letters and, recently, high-tech videos on their mobile phones showing women
A bill was passed by Parliament last year authorizing husbands in Shiite
families to withhold money and food from wives who refuse to provide sex. The
bill limited inheritance and custody of children to women in case of divorce,
and denied women freedom of movement without the permission of the families.
This Shiite Personal Status Law was supported by President Karzai, who was put
in office and has been kept there by U.S. troops.
In this atmosphere, many women parliamentarians fear bringing up issues like
women’s rights for fear of retaliation, according to the U.N. Assistance
The anti-woman bill passed even though 25 percent of Parliament’s seats
are reserved for women. How could this happen? M.P. Sabrina Saqib, who voted
against the bill, “estimated that less than a dozen of the 68 female
parliamentarians support women’s rights. The rest — proxies for
conservative men who boost them into power — aren’t
interested.” So some apparent gains for women in Afghanistan that the
U.S. took credit for, like reserving a quarter of the legislative seats for
women, were not real but done with smoke and mirrors.
The best way for the U.S. to “help” the women of Afghanistan is to
get out of that country and the entire region, cease all overt and covert
activity, stop interfering in the affairs of the Afghan people, and leave the
women and men there to determine their own lives.
Next: Exposing the colonialist assumption that Western culture is superior
regarding women. How the U.S. government ignores the epidemic of violence
against women in the U.S.
Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World.
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
Email: [email protected]
Subscribe [email protected]
Support independent news DONATE