A response to Mr. Finel

Below is the text of my posted comment at ForeignPolicy.com responding to Bernard I. Finel’s Ten Questions about Afghanistan.

America’s Moral Responsibility in Afghanistan

Mr. Finel,

Thank you for posing some tough questions that deserve deeper discussion. To complicate matters, I would like focus a bit more on your question six — the nature of America’s “moral obligation” to protect, among others, Afghan women from Taliban oppression.

The fear of a return to Taliban misogyny should be weighed against the reality of significant misogyny in the policies being put forward by the Karzai government. After all, it was the Western-backed Afghanistan regime that recently produced legislation allowing husbands to starve sexually unwilling wives.

So in considering our moral obligation, we should also remember that U.S.-backed Afghan elites are making their own deals within the same misogynist political culture. In effect, the U.S. goal of building a stable, non-Taliban Afghan regime may itself result in a perpetuation of misogynist governance and human rights violations.

This kind of oppression may well differ from the level of oppression that we all would expect if Taliban militias regained power. But how big would the difference be? Given that the U.S. is explicitly exploring negotiations with certain Taliban leaders, this too is a question worth asking.

Sanjeev Bery

http://digdeeper.us/spilledink

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