The Plight of Afghan Women: A Disturbing Picture

Posted: August 5th, 2010 by Gadget42

Mili Note: While this is horrible, it’s by no means a “reason to stay in Afghanistan.”  Are we going to change this?  Will it stop happening because we’re there?  Will we have to stay forever to stop it?  Did it start before we invaded?  Is it our business and/or job to police these sorts of things?  You tell me.  Yes, it’s horrible, but so is the rape and pillage of our nation, our people, our economy, and our lives.  Right here.  At home.  In America.  Not thousands of miles away.  They chop off peoples arms in Africa because they’re of a different tribe.  They rape 5-year-old children in Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East.  There are huge numbers of children being trafficked in the sex trades world wide.  But for some reason (oil), we chose Afghanistan as our liberation target.  We chose Iraq as our liberation target.  Now we’re choosing Pakistan and Iran.  We’re not liberating anyone, people.  Just their oil.

by Jodi Bieber, Time

Our cover image this week is powerful, shocking and disturbing. It is a portrait of Aisha, a shy 18-year-old Afghan woman who was sentenced by a Taliban commander to have her nose and ears cut off for fleeing her abusive in-laws. Aisha posed for the picture and says she wants the world to see the effect a Taliban resurgence would have on the women of Afghanistan, many of whom have flourished in the past few years. Her picture is accompanied by a powerful story by our own Aryn Baker on how Afghan women have embraced the freedoms that have come from the defeat of the Taliban — and how they fear a Taliban revival. (See pictures of Afghan women and the return of the Taliban.)

I thought long and hard about whether to put this image on the cover of TIME. First, I wanted to make sure of Aisha’s safety and that she understood what it would mean to be on the cover. She knows that she will become a symbol of the price Afghan women have had to pay for the repressive ideology of the Taliban. We also confirmed that she is in a secret location protected by armed guards and sponsored by the NGO Women for Afghan Women. Aisha will head to the U.S. for reconstructive surgery sponsored by the Grossman Burn Foundation, a humanitarian organization in California. We are supporting that effort. (Watch TIME’s video on photographing Aisha for the cover.)

I’m acutely aware that this image will be seen by children, who will undoubtedly find it distressing. We have consulted with a number of child psychologists about its potential impact. Some think children are so used to seeing violence in the media that the image will have little effect, but others believe that children will find it very scary and distressing — that they will see it, as Dr. Michael Rich, director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Children’s Hospital Boston, said, as “a symbol of bad things that can happen to people.” I showed it to my two young sons, 9 and 12, who both immediately felt sorry for Aisha and asked why anyone would have done such harm to her. I apologize to readers who find the image too strong, and I invite you to comment on the image’s impact.
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Comments (4)


  1. We agree with the Mili Note and also his comment at the Time website regarding the fact that what these oppressed peoples need is more education and the ability and skill to fully defend themselves. We would gladly donate plenty of guns and ammo so those folks would have absolutely no excuse for allowing themselves to be tortured and mutilated.

  2. Bretigne Shaffer provides additional commentary regarding the fact that decades of death, destruction, and occupations have created a much more hostile and violent atmosphere for women, children, and the elderly.

    Not to mention the disgusting quote from murderous mercenary Eric Prince of taxpayer-funded Blackwater/XE global murderers incorporated…argh!

    Starving The Monkeys and Ending The Looterfest,
    John and Dagny Galt
    Atlas Shrugged, Owners Manual For The Universe!(tm)

    PS-Have you read Hologram of Liberty by Boston T. Party yet?


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