by Michael Gerson
Being an educated, professional woman in Afghanistan could not have been easy at any time during the last few decades. I recently met with a group of female government officials, brought to Washington by USAID and the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council. One, during the Taliban years, had run an underground school in her home for the criminal purpose of teaching girls. Another had built a community development program employing 25,000 Afghan women before she was put under close guard by the Taliban. Her home was looted, and her children were threatened with kidnapping.
Afghanistan is a country where women have made significant progress — but only compared with a comprehensively oppressive past. There are now about 2 million girls in school, when six years ago only a million children were in school. The women I met now play public roles in education, public works and agriculture — unimaginable under the Taliban.