Najibullah, the country spiraled into its infamous Taliban
regime. Since the 1996 shift to a Taliban-controlled nation,
Afghanistan has stood out as one of the most dramatically
oppressive nations for women to survive in. Under Taliban
rule, Afghan women were restricted in virtually every area
of their lives. Their rights to work, education, and health
services were severely restricted. Additionally, the turn to
extreme physical abuse and unjustified government pun-
ishments made simply being a woman a dangerous act.
Upon the fall of the Taliban in 2001, revisions to the con-
stitution and updated legislation began to gradually revive
women’s rights in Afghanistan.
Despite the overwhelmingly negative environment
Afghanistan has been for its women since the 1970s, the
stereotypical characterization of Afghan women as power-
less until help arrives from the West has been blown out of
proportion, specifically in the Western world. Over the last
few decades of social collapse and political strife, women
have upheld their own communities of resistance and sur-
vival centered on the needs of their gender. For instance,
as they were forced by the Taliban to develop their own
underground schools, women and girls found long-term
ways to allow their communities to thrive, even after the
fall of the Taliban regime. The understanding that serious
change is necessary to the advancement of human devel-
opment is taught among women, inspiring solidarity in
many men as well. Afghanistan is still facing the challenges
Overview of Country
Located in South Central Asia, Afghanistan is a landlocked
country about 252,000 square miles in size (652,000 sq.
km). It shares borders with six countries: Turkmenistan,
Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan make up its northern border;
Pakistan lies to the southeast; Iran is to the west; and China
is at the northeastern corner of the territory. Although its
terrain is mostly rugged mountains, the land is made up
of plains in the northern and southwestern regions of the
As of 2012, the population of Afghanistan was approxi-
mately 29,824,500 (UNICEF 2013). The UN Development
Programme (UNDP) ranked Afghanistan 149th out of
187 nations examined in the 2013 data collection for the
Gender Inequality Index (GII, 0.705). The nation ranked
low because women’s issues have received little atten-
tion as the general state of human development remains
at a disadvantage because of Afghanistan’s tumultuous
Since the Soviet intervention in 1979, Afghanistan has
suffered repeated devastating military action that has
disrupted the political, economic, and social peace of the
nation. After the conflict with the USSR and a civil war that
pushed to overthrow Soviet-backed leader Mohammed
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